“We have nothing to discuss with the CHP even if they do not label the issue the Kurdish issue,” said MHP parliamentary group Deputy Chairman Oktay Vural, referring to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's remarks earlier on Thursday in which he said the name of the issue may be changed if it disturbs other parties.
The MHP denies the existence of the Kurdish issue, arguing that the issue only concerns terrorism. “A change of name cannot make us a tool for this plan,” Vural added.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli also said in a written statement following a meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu 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 the jailed leader of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, and said the 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 citizens of the nation.”
The CHP and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) had a key meeting on Wednesday to discuss a proposal by the CHP to find a solution to the Kurdish issue through consensus among all political parties. The meeting was positive, according to officials from both parties. Last month the CHP submitted its suggestion on how to solve the Kurdish problem to Parliament, presenting a proposal detailing ideas first announced as part of the party's campaign in the last general elections.
The CHP first prepared a report on how to deal with the issue in 1989 and, after the election of Kılıçdaroğlu as party leader in 2010, the party has returned to the subject. The promises made by Kılıçdaroğlu in the run-up to last year's national elections on the matter are reiterated in the proposal presented to the parliament speaker.
The report, which details a 10-point plan, includes as its first point a plan for the establishment of a parliamentary committee to concentrate on the Kurdish question. The suggested name for this committee is the Societal Reconciliation Commission, which the CHP says in its report should function according to the principles of equal representation and reconciliation. Erdoğan and the CHP leader met on the same issue in July 2010 at the request of Erdoğan, whose AK Party launched an initiative to address the issue in 2009.
Turkey has for decades been battling a campaign of separatist terrorism carried out by the PKK, which in 1984 launched an armed campaign to fight for an autonomous Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey.