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Kurdish politician views US role in peace process, Turkey’s Syria policy 23 mai 2013

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie, USA / Etats-Unis.
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BBC Monitoring European (UK) 23 May 2013                                         Türkçe

Text of report by Turkish newspaper Milliyet on 21 May

Interview with Ahmet Turk by Pinar Ersoy in Washington date not given: « Process Will be Adversely Affected if Syrian Kurds are Forgotten »

A second delegation, from the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party], went to the US capital Washington after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-chairman and independent Deputy for Mardin Ahmet Turk together with BDP Assistant Co-Chairman and Deputy for Van Nazmi Gur have been holding talks with officials from the State Department and the White House as well as with representatives from various think-tanks since Monday. Among the people they spoke to were Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department Eric Rubin. On the agenda were the Kurd solution process and Syrian. Turk talked to Milliyet about his impressions.

[Ersoy] What kind of role can the United States play in order to assist the solution process?

[Turk] It can play a more courageous role than meddling in Turkey’s internal affairs. Just as the United States has told Turkey in all its statements in the past that they are giving Turkey full support against the Kurds, they can now give full support for peace today. But we must be able to fix our own internal problems. The international powers can assist in overcoming the blockages that are holding the process back.

Up until now the PKK [Kurdistan People’s Congress, KGK] has always made the first move. Right now the government is expected to reciprocate with reforms. Can the United States be a guarantor during this process?

The United States needs to play a role that is more incentivizing than the role of guarantor. But today for example some kind of guarantor role for the future of the Kurds in Syria can be discussed. It is not right to treat the Syria issue as being separate from the peace process in Turkey. The policy that will be pursued by Turkey with regard to Kurdish rights in the post-Asad era will have profound effect on all of Middle East politics.

What kind of impact are you talking about?

Turkey’s policies in Syria have a direct impact on the Kurds in Turkey and their attitude. If Turkey wants to form a new system in Syria by supporting and arming such organizations as Al-Nusrah and Al-Qa’idah, then of course the Kurds are not going to like this. But if Turkey forms a democracy front and if an approach emerges that wants the Kurds involved this will make an important contribution to fixing the Kurd problem in Turkey. If an approach that says, « It would be dangerous for me if the Kurds in Syria gain a status » is formed there is no way this can have positive implications.

Are your words a condition for the solution process or a demand?

No, I am simply making a comment. This is just an observation. The Kurds are a potent force in the Middle East today, a politicized force. Everybody in Middle East politics needs to factor this in now. I think it would be wrong to think of stability without the Kurds in the Middle East. Quite frankly, it needs to be said that were it not for the Kurds’ role in the Middle East the peace process might never have happened.

Ahmet Turk also touched on the debates over the new constitution saying: « We do not feel the need for such terms as Turk, Kurd, Laz, Circassian etc to be written into the constitution. Some people are saying, ‘Everything Turkish will be gone.’ You can write Turkishness into every page of the constitution. We have no objections to that. What we are saying is that different cultures and identities need to be given assurances and not denied, and it needs to be accepted that they have rights. »

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