Kilicdarogu says Kurdish southeast key to Turkey’s path to democracy

Turkey’s path to the democracy can only go through the Kurdish-majority southeastern Diyarbakir province, the leader of the main opposition party said on Monday, ahead a visit to the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) stronghold later this month.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) Leader Kemal Kilicdarogu made the remarks during a meeting with counterpart Ali Babacan, a former deputy prime minister who heads the opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), Diken news site reported.
“I certainly believe that that if democracy is going to arrive in this country, if there is to be democracy in this country, if people in this country are not going to be ostracized due to their identity or beliefs, then this is going to happen through Diyarbakir,” the CHP leader said.
The opposition leader said he planned to share this with the residents of Kurdish-majority province, and “answer their questions with great honesty,” during his Diyarbakir visit on January 27.
The CHP has for decades come under particular criticism for failing to address its violations during Turkey’s single-party era, which began with the formal establishment of the country in 1923, and its stance on minorities.
The CHP leader’s visit is part of a “reconciliation’’ tour for his secularist party’s bid to make amends with all segments of society, including Kurds, who make up some 20 percent of the population.
Since 1984, Turkey has been locked in a struggle against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish militant group that is considered a terrorist organisation by Ankara, the United States and the European Union. Some 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died in the conflict.
Babacan and Kilidaroglu in a press conference following their meeting said that Turkey’s greatest problem remains the executive presidential system, Diken said.
Six opposition parties have cooperated on a roadmap for a solidified parliamentary system, Babacan said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected president in 2018 with vastly enhanced executive powers following a nationwide referendum marred by opposition allegations of vote-rigging. His political opponents accuse him of bypassing parliament through presidential decrees, undercutting the judiciary’s independence and of seeking to suppress all opposition to his rule.
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