According to a November 11 Parliamentary press statement, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the PKK to lay down arms and leave the country, two aspects of the Turkish-Kurdish peace process that had been agreed upon in 2012. In his own words, Davutoglu explained, “There is no point in not laying down arms while going ahead with the settlement process. We determined the steps to be taken by the parties while launching the settlement process. They [the PKK] should begin laying down their arms. They should have left the country in May of last year.”
While the initial stages of the Kurdish peace talks had run relatively smooth, tensions between the AKP government and the country’s Kurdish community over the past few months have led to a significant increase in PKK-related militancy throughout southeastern Turkey.
While the PKK had originally agreed to leave Turkish soil in March 2013, the PKK’s military leader Cemil Bayik stated last year that the group had halted its withdrawal to Iraq because he felt that the Turkish government had not taken the agreed-upon steps on its own side of the negotiations.
While AKP officials such as Prime Minister Davutoglu and President Erdogan have frequently criticized PKK leaders for not following through on their promises vis-a-vis the ongoing negotiations, yesterday, Davutoglu offered a scathing criticism of the pro-Kurdish Republican People’s Party (CHP). “We all displayed sensitivity for Kobani. We said we will oppose the cruelty in Kobani. The jets of [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad have been pounding Aleppo for a week. Have you heard a statement from [main opposition leader Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu on this? Aren’t those leaving Aleppo human beings? Isn’t Assad as cruel as ISIL?” Additionally, Davutoglu labeled the CHP as ‘Turkish Baathists’ who support the ‘Arab Baathists’ of the Assad regime.