Speaking to reporters after the meeting, CHP Deputy Chairmen Faruk Loğoğlu said the meeting was “positive” and “productive,” adding that officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) underlined during a one-hour meeting that the contribution of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is key to moving forward with establishing a commission composed of all four parties in Parliament.
Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, AK Party parliamentary group Deputy Chairman Mahir Ünal and AK Party Deputy Chairman Ömer Çelik accompanied Erdoğan during the meeting, while Loğoğlu and deputy CHP leader Sezgin Tanrıkulu and CHP parliamentary group Deputy Chairman Akif Hamzaçebi accompanied Kılıçdaroğlu.
Loğoğlu said his party is ready to do what is required as part of the initiative, which he said is solely aimed at the solution of the problem. Loğoğlu noted that their interlocutors said the proposal will collapse if the MHP does not contribute to and participate in the process. He added that the points in the proposal are not immutable and could be subject to change if needed, stressing that the atmosphere of the gathering was positive
The meeting, which took place at 3:30 p.m. at the AK Party's 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. Reports said the CHP presented a 10-item plan to the governing party.
Loğoğlu told reporters that the most important next step is to form a four-party commission and then proceed to establish a Wise Men group. The group will be composed of people that have no official occupation and will largely deal with sensitive issues, mediation or talks.
The CHP official added that leaders could also consider consulting with President Abdullah Gül as part of the process. He added that Kılıçdaroğlu invited Erdoğan to visit Uludere, a village where 34 civilians, mistaken for Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants, were killed by Turkish warplanes, causing widespread outrage.
Speaking right after Loğoğlu, Çelik said in a news briefing that Erdoğan didn't make comments on the Uludere visit because “this is not on our agenda.” He recalled that the spouse of Erdoğan, Emine Erdoğan, had earlier visited the village to offer condolences.
The CHP official avoided giving a period in which the MHP should participate in the commission, saying, “We are talking about days and weeks, not months.” Çelik told reporters that Erdoğan and the AK Party delegation welcomed the CHP's proposal, which he said includes description of the problem. He added that his party welcomes the CHP's efforts to contribute to the solution of the problem and that the government attaches importance to contributions from all sides.
Çelik described the meeting as positive, but said the biggest hurdle they face is the MHP's possible opposition to the proposal. Çelik noted that the AK Party is not against, in principle, the participation of all parties in the commission which would be tasked with finding ways to solve the Kurdish issue.
He added that a Wise Men delegation could be formed only after the commission is successfully established. According to Çelik, it is up to the CHP to urge the MHP and pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to participate in the parliamentary commission.
Çelik speculated about another plan, refusing to describe it as Plan B, to be considered if there is no consensus among parties to establish the commission. He said Erdoğan suggested during the meeting that if the MHP or BDP refuse to participate in the commission, AK Party and CHP officials could continue hold consultative talks. Çelik said Kılıçdaroğlu considered the suggestion positive.
MHP rejects participatig in parliamentary commission
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said in a written statement following the talks that his party won’t meet with the CHP with respect to the “so-called Kurdish problem,” harshly criticizing Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu’s meeting.
Bahçeli accused the CHP of being the mouthpiece of Öcalan and said CHP’s position carries the risk of making Öcalan and the PKK’s demands legitimate.
Underlining that Turkey absolutely does not have a Kurdish problem, Bahçeli said “Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent are honorable and proud nationals of the nation.”
Speaking to NTV TV, MHP Ankara deputy Özcan Yeniçeri categorically rejected the proposal. He said Kılıçdaroğlu failed to consult their party and all sides before drafting the proposal and that his party will not participate in the commission, which he said “will discuss ways [jailed leader of the PKK Abdullah] Öcalan earlier suggested.”
Speaking to a group of journalists in an interview with ATV TV late on Wednesday, Erdoğan said he is pleased that his party and the CHP discussed the Kurdish issue, noting that he wishes to move forward with this initiative.
He also said he doesn't see the issue as a “Kurdish problem,” but a “terror or PKK problem.” Erdoğan added that there are problems “our citizens of Kurdish descent are facing” and underlined that he considers the concept of a “Kurdish issue” an insult to “citizens of Kurdish descent.”
He also criticized Bahçeli's statement, but added he has a right not to be content with the meeting. He added that he extended three invitations to Bahçeli, but that the MHP leader rejected all of them. Erdoğan further said the MHP leader's statement automatically kills the possibility of establishing a parliamentary commission.