HDP slams own MP for pointing to Öcalan as main interlocutor for Kurdish peace talks

The HDP has slammed its own deputy Sezai Temelli for pointing to PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as the main interlocutor for the Kurdish peace talks. "His remarks are utterly irresponsible," HDP members said.

Duvar English 

The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has slammed its own deputy Sezai Temelli for pointing to Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan as the main interlocutor for the possible Kurdish peace talks. 

Temelli on Sept. 19 prompted surprise for criticizing main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who said that his party can solve Turkey's Kurdish issue with the HDP.

Speaking in a documentary on Sept. 19, Kılıçdaroğlu said that the main problem of the peace process between the state and the PKK that took place between 2013 and 2015 was the choosing of Öcalan as the main interlocutor. 

"İmralı is not a legitimate body. Who is a legitimate legal body? We can see the HDP as a legal body. We can resolve it with a legal body if [the Kurdish issue] is to be resolved," Kılıçdaroğlu said, while also stressing that the HDP has the backing of the public and is in parliament. 

"We need a legitimate body to solve the Kurdish issue. A state can't accept an illegitimate body as an interlocutor," he said, slamming President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for "making the state talk to İmralı." 

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (L) and HDP deputy Sezai Temelli.

Temelli, who is the HDP's former co-chair, responded to the main opposition leader's remarks, saying that the main interlocutor of a democratic solution is İmralı, which is where Öcalan is imprisoned. 

"The HDP is not the sole interlocutor for the solution of the Kurdish issue, but it's the main actor in creating democratic politics for a solution. What should never be forgotten is that the main interlocutor is İmralı," Temelli said in a tweet. 

He then went on to criticize Kılıçdaroğlu for "having an understanding that leads to nowhere."

Senior HDP members, however, slammed Temelli for pointing to Öcalan as the main interlocutor, saying that the deputy was trivializing the role of his own party. 

"We want the HDP to be an actor. We don't want the party to be seen as under another body's control. The HDP is a pluralist party. Temelli disregarded that," HDP members, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Halk TV on Sept. 21. 

"His remarks are utterly irresponsible. Our bodies wouldn't have made such a statement, because it would have triggered a crisis," they noted. 

The pro-Kurdish party, however, reiterated its stance on the state needing to talk to Öcalan. 

"The PKK doesn't lay down arms when the HDP calls on it. The person who can establish a ceasefire is Öcalan. Kılıçdaroğlu closed the door on this. That shouldn't be the case in politics," HDP members said. 

"There are some issues that the HDP can help with and some that it can't. The HDP can ensure that the process is debated in parliament and the necessary legislation is passed," they added. 

Upon backlash, Temelli defended himself by saying that his response to Kılıçdaroğlu doesn't represent the party's official stance.

"Those were my personal views. What I did was making an assessment of the situation," he said on Sept. 21, noting that the HDP is the legitimate interlocutor. 

HDP wants to solve all problems in Turkey: Demirtaş

Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, meanwhile, said on Sept. 21 that the HDP wants to solve all issues in Turkey, including the Kurdish issue. 

"The HDP is a political actor and of course is an interlocutor. The place to solve this issue is parliament," Demirtaş, who has been imprisoned since Nov. 4, 2016, said in a tweet via his lawyers. 

"Triggering debates that are outdated and useless won't contribute to the solution."