Duvar English

Opposition politicians have continued to respond to former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş’s remarks on unity among the opposition, with Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu leaving the door open for dialogue.

Demirtaş on Sept. 7 called for unity among the opposition, saying that all parties need to agree on the principles of democracy without preconditions and prejudices.

“I believe that everyone in the opposition should unite in principles of democracy without succumbing to preconditions and prejudices. Is there any party or politician that doesn’t have a baggage or a past without criticism?” Demirtaş said.

“All the ways other than approaching our past critically as politicians and focusing on the future would make the opposition lose,” he added.

Demirtaş, who has been imprisoned for nearly four years in the Edirne Prison on charges related to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), also said that history and the people won’t forgive the politicians who don’t stand side by side in the face of such major problems.

“All politicians need to stand side by side for democracy via seeing the gravity and urgency of the problems. History and the people won’t forgive those who don’t or can’t do this,” Demirtaş said.

He also suggested that politicians need to get to know each other, while giving an example over his relationship with right-wing Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener, whose political stance is dramatically different that of Demirtaş and the HDP.

“Politicians may try to understand each other through meeting at breakfasts within the framework of humane relations before gathering for political purposes. For example, if I were free, I would visit Meral Akşener one morning with Başak [Demirtaş] and say, ‘We’re here for breakfast,'” Demirtaş said.

Akşener responded to Demirtaş’s remarks, citing traditions in Turkey’s southeast.

“There’s a tradition in the southeast, which stipulates that you invite a person in if he knocks on your door even if there’s a blood feud. He is greeted by the house’s eldest. When he leaves, your blood feud continues,” Akşener said.

Demirtaş also said that he is ready for dialogue with Davutoğlu despite their stark differences.

“Our political stance and approach to various issues differ with Davutoğlu. I’m sure that they will never be the same. However, dialogue based on democratic principles to get out of this deep tragedy would definitely contribute to the people’s free futures, peace and well-being,” Demirtaş said.

Davutoğlu, who founded the Future Party late last year after resigning from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), is seen as one of the main politicians responsible for the destruction in Kurdish-majority cities following the June 7, 2015 general elections.

During his prime ministerial term, Davutoğlu repeatedly targeted Demirtaş and the HDP. He was also the prime minister when Demirtaş was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016.

In response, Davutoğlu said that he finds it appropriate to talk to anyone who “distanced themselves from terror.”

“In principle, I find it appropriate to talk to anyone who believes in democracy and who distanced themselves from terror for the future of this country,” Davutoğlu told daily Sözcü on Sept. 15.

“I have never refrained from gathering with leaders with whom we had harsh political struggles in the past,” he added.