Kurdish leader says two HDP ministers in government to stop AKP going to war

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Referring to the two ministers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey’s newly formed interim government, HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said they are there to prevent the Justice and Development Party (AKP) from “easily deciding to go to war.” He also said they accepted the interim cabinet posts to prevent state facilities from being allocated exclusively to the AKP’s election campaign.

“Our ministers, namely the people’s ministers, are there [in the interim government] so that you [the AKP] can’t easily decide to go to war, and so you do not use the state’s opportunities for the benefit of the AKP’s election campaign,” said Demirtaş, speaking to reporters in The Hague on Aug. 29.

“They will be right at the back of your neck,” he added.

Meanwhile, the HDP co-chair also said he expected the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to lay down its arms “if Turkey resumes negotiations with the armed group,” suggesting that this would end the flare-up in clashes between Turkish armed forces and the PKK.

The PKK had so far scorned HDP calls for a ceasefire, but Demirtaş claimed that this did not spell an end to prospects for peace.

“What [the PKK] meant was that if a solution is brought back onto the political agenda, it won’t even have to call to lay down arms and it will do so anyway,” he said, adding that another strong showing for the HDP in parliamentary elections in November would increase the chances of resuming peace talks.

Negotiations aimed to bringing to an end the 30-year-long conflict between the Turkish security forces and the PKK came to a halt with a deadly attack in the southeastern district of Suruç on July 21, after going on for more than two years.

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