Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) leader Selahattin Demirtaş said on Thursday that his party may end its two-week-long parliamentary boycott and take its oath before Parliament takes a break for summer recess on Friday.
He said they are waiting for the outcome of talks with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and they may take the parliamentary oath if their demands are met by the ruling party. “We have expectations. If we believe that the ruling AK Party can run Parliament by compromising for [the sake of] a new constitution and can adopt a democratic approach in the face of our demands, we can take the oath in an extraordinary session or in the first upcoming session. We are not evading taking the oath. We are not protesting oath-taking. We are working to change a mentality,” he said.
Demirtaş's remarks came as officials from the AK Party and the BDP were engaged in a second round of talks. Thursday's meeting follows the first meeting between the two parties on Wednesday upon the initiative of Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek.
Çiçek chaired Wednesday's meeting, which was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, AK Party parliamentary group deputy chairmen Nurettin Canikli and Ahmet Aydın and AK Party Deputy Chairman Haluk İpek, BDP Chairman Selahattin Demirtaş, BDP Siirt deputy Gülten Kışanak and BDP parliamentary group deputy chairmen Hasip Kaplan and Pervin Buldan. The same officials, except for Demirtaş, met on Thursday to discuss a solution to the issue.
The BDP has refused to take an oath and join in parliamentary proceedings in protest of the imprisonment of six of its deputies. Thirty-six independent deputies supported by the pro-Kurdish BDP were elected in the June 12 elections. However, six BDP-backed deputies are currently under arrest as part of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) trial. The BDP made the decision to boycott after the Supreme Election Board (YSK) stripped Hatip Dicle, one of the six jailed BDP deputies, of his mandate over a prior terrorism-related conviction after the June 12 vote.
BDP deputy Kışanak spoke to reporters after the meeting and said she “is unable to say something that is either completely positive or negative” about the meeting. “The intentions are positive. But we are still unable to agree on how to solve the issue in practice,” she said.
She also noted that the BDP submitted a text that consists of the BDP's proposals “to eliminate obstacles before democratic politics in Turkey” and that the AK Party did not object to it. Stating that the BDP was not opposed to the AK Party's proposals on principal, Kışanak said, “However, it emerged that we were not ready to merge these two texts into one.”
The deputy added that it is not certain that the BDP will take the oath on Thursday or Friday, underscoring that the party's authorized bodies will decide on that.