Leyla Zana, an independent pro-Kurdish deputy from Diyarbakır, has stood behind statements in which she said she believes Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will solve the Kurdish issue despite strong criticism from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the party which backed her in the elections.
Zana said in an interview with the Hürriyet daily on Thursday that she has never lost hope in Erdoğan, who she said is the person who has the power to solve the Kurdish issue. She also reportedly said she does not think the Kurdish issue will be solved by giving the military, police or judiciary certain tasks.
She stated: “There is a solid fact here. Let’s say this openly and accept this fact. If he wanted, the strongest can solve this [Kurdish] issue. Who is the strongest one? It’s the government and its head, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The person who is the head of the strongest government in [our] history is able to show the willpower and has the power to sort out this issue. I believe that he will be able to solve this issue. I have never lost my faith in him solving this issue. And I don’t want to lose my faith in him. If I had lost [my faith], I wouldn’t be here.”
Zana added that everyone should make clear that they support the prime minister in solving the Kurdish issue. She further said she would like to meet with Erdoğan and that the problem is not whether or not she speaks with the prime minister, but rather Erdoğan’s inviting Kurdish intellectuals to meet with him to discuss the Kurdish issue.
Although her remarks were interpreted as a sign of possible dialogue on a solution for the issue by many, she received much criticism from the BDP. BDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş said on Thursday that “whoever is hopeful about Erdoğan [regarding the Kurdish issue], is naive. This is thinking like the [Justice and Development Party] AK Party.”
“Erdoğan’s statements are all clear. Which of his policies can boost our hopes? The hope for solution is not in Erdoğan, but in the people,” he added.
However, Zana defended her remarks in another interview with the Radikal daily on Friday and said she has done her part. “We should cling to it, even if there is little hope. We should seek ways to increase this hope. Our young people are dying every day. We will have lost thousands of children as we seek ways for a solution 10 years down the line. Politics is the art of keeping hope alive. Everyone should shoulder some responsibly. I did,” she said.