Two Kurdish women make “V” signs in front of a line of riot police in Dağlıca on Thursday during a protest organized by the BDP against mobile security outposts. The BDP is expected to hold many rallies in September. (Photo: İHA)
AYDIN ALBAYRAK, ANKARA
The rallies the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is preparing to hold at the beginning of September are seemingly meant to force the government’s hand into taking steps to the BDP’s liking as part of the settlement process launched to settle the country’s decades-old Kurdish issue.
The government is taking it slow, however, after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the military wing of the BDP, did not withdraw all of its armed militants from Turkey as agreed and the first stage of the settlement process has not been completed yet.
The PKK military commanders have issued threatening statements in recent weeks, setting the deadline for the beginning of September for the government to launch steps they claim are required for the process to move forward. The government balked at the threats, with Interior Minister Muammer Güler saying that “these are empty threats.”
“They [the PKK and the BDP] may encourage a popular uprising to reach their goals declared in the announcement of the Kurdish Communities Union [KCK],” Atilla Sandıklı, head of the İstanbul-based Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies (Bilgesam), has said.
The BDP has long criticized the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government for dragging its feet on the introduction of the democratization package, and signaled that it may encourage popular protests in the fall, should the government fail to come up with a package as expected. An autonomous Kurdistan and education in mother tongue are two of the major demands of the KCK’s announcement this summer.