The leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, met with main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Wednesday in what was the first attempt to jointly discuss the Kurdish question.
The meeting, which took place at 3:30 p.m. at the AK Party headquarters in Ankara, was initiated by Kılıçdaroğlu, who recently requested a meeting with the prime minister to submit his party's suggestions for a solution to the Kurdish impasse.
The meeting was still being conducted when Today's Zaman went to print, but Kılıçdaroğlu and senior members of his party came together to review their suggestions ahead of the meeting with Erdoğan. The deputy heads of the AK Party's parliamentary group also held a meeting.
AK Party Deputy Chairman Bülent Gedikli told Today's Zaman that it was highly significant that the two leaders were meeting to discuss the Kurdish question. “The mechanism that will be used for a solution is as important as the roadmap that will be followed in the search for a solution. We will first see [the CHP's] suggestion, and then evaluate it.”
In a statement to Today's Zaman, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a CHP deputy chairman, said the meeting between the two leaders will focus on the search for the correct method to employ a solution. He said the priority of the meeting would be the identification of issues such as whether a commission should be made up of the members of all the parties in Parliament. “Deciding on the content together might be more appropriate. We do have suggestions, but we do not necessarily want to highlight those. Just as was done with the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission, first the methods of work would be decided on, with the content to follow later.”
The AK Party administration is cautiously positive about the CHP's suggestions. Ayşe Nur Bahçekapılı, a deputy leader of the AK Party's parliamentary group, told Today's Zaman: “Sincerity is of utmost importance. It is a positive development that the main opposition party is bringing a proposal regarding Turkey's most important problem. It is very important for us that the governing party and the main opposition are meeting to discuss this issue. We will make our evaluations based on the content and sincerity of the proposals the CHP will make.”
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu started the search for a solution, saying everyone should do their share to find a peaceful settlement to the Kurdish question. The CHP was planning to meet with the leaders of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) after the meeting with Erdoğan. However, the MHP said it was not going to meet with CHP officials. Whether there will be a separate meeting with the BDP will depend on the outcome of Wednesday's meeting between Kılıçdaroğlu and Erdoğan.
The MHP administration says Turkey does not have a Kurdish problem and accuses the CHP of using the same language as the BDP, Turkey's pro-Kurdish party, and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). It also announced that it will not send any members to a commission that may be established after the meeting. However, both CHP and BDP administrators have expressed their hopes that the MHP will change its attitude once positive steps are taken.
CHP Deputy Chairmen Faruk Loğoğlu and Sezgin Tanrıkulu and AK Party Deputy Chairman Hüseyin Çelik and Interior Minister Beşir Atalay were also in attendance at Wednesday's meeting.