Leyla Zana, an independent deputy from the southeastern province of Diyarbakır and a renown figure within the Kurdish movement, held a press meeting in Parliament Sunday following her talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the day before.
"We had requested talks with everyone [ranging] from the prime minister to non-governmental organizations (NGOs.) Since our entry into Parliament at the start of the 24th term, there had been demands for [this] meeting," Zana said, adding that it was the first time she had entered Parliament's press meeting room after a lapse of 21 years.
"I told the prime minister at the beginning of the meeting that I was under a [certain] pledge as a [person] who took an oath in this Parliament 21 years ago [to uphold] the brotherhood of peoples. I first spoke of the Kurds' rights emanating from their [identity] as a people. I highlighted the need for a milieu of trust," she said.
"Open wounds still bleeding"
"I stated that society needs [to see] frank steps, as they are unnerved by the ongoing arrests despite the efforts to face off fears. The Roboski massacre (a botched air strike that killed 34 civilians last year in the southeast,) the incidents at prisons and the ongoing violence of the police. I said our open wounds continue bleeding due to all this," she said.
"There is a need to lay bare all that happened and still continues to happen, and a need to seek for a solution. I stated the need for everyone to take steps to [achieve] an unbroken milieu of peace. It is not small steps that are in need but steps forward. Words and rhetoric do not suffice for my people. I said the people to whom you are [expected to] issue an apology to are not from another state but your own compatriots," said Zana.
"No one pays money to learn their mother tounge"
"Everyone needs to contribute [to achieve] peace. The path of sustainable negotiations has never been tried until this day. I said this country that could tear down a taboo like capital punishment could surely place Mr. Öcalan (the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)) under house arrest, and that this bore a vital significance. The addition of the Kurdish [language] to elective courses represents a positive development, [but] I stressed the right to education in one's mother tounge. I told Mr. Prime Minister that 'No people in the world pays money to learn their mother tounge,'" Zana said.
"The narrative that [military] operations would come to a halt if [the PKK were to] lay their arms down is not realistic. The Oslo process needs to restart. The meeting took place in a very courteous atmosphere. The prime minister was frank on the issue of keeping the process of dialogue open," Zana said.
"How many more deaths should pass before the advent of peace talks?"
"[These talks represent] the product of efforts that had been underway since 2004. The prime minister listened to all our demands with close attention. I believe this meeting will have a favorable impact on the advent of peace and on opening the [process of dialouge] that had come to a standstill," she said.
"I would like everyone to know that I acted through my reason, conscience, heart and foresight. The consequences of this meeting are historically more signficiant than the question of who partook in it," she added.
"How many more generations and how many more deaths are we going to wait for to clear the path before this forestalled process? The entire struggle waged by the HEP (People's Labor Party,) the DEP (Democracy Party) and the DTP (Democratic Party) and all the remaining components have shown that everyone [living] on these lands needs peace. For that reason, it makes no difference [to talk about] you, me or the other. Everyone, both the Turkish and the Kurdish people, ought to partake in peace," Zana said. (NV)