Davutoğlu accuses pro-Kurdish HDP of 'arrogance' after 2015 general elections

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) took on an arrogant attitude after easily passing the election threshold to win 80 seats in the 2015 general elections, former prime minister and founder of the Future Party Ahmet Davutoğlu told daily Karar.

“A total arrogance came over the HDP wing,” after garnering close to 14 percent of the vote, well above the 10 percent threshold, in Turkey’s June 7, 2015 general elections, he said.

This was further reinforced by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) losing the absolute majority in parliament for the first time in the elections, he added.

The founder of Turkey’s newest political movement, the Future Party, pointed to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) statement of July 11 the same year, announcing their intent to end the no-conflict period. The statement eventually led to the end of a two-year-long peace process between Turkey and the PKK.

An Islamic State (ISIS) suicide attack on July 20, 2015 targeted left-wing and pro-Kurdish groups gathered in the southeastern Şanlıurfa province’s Suruç district, killing 33 people and injuring 104. The groups were on their way to the majority-Kurdish town of Kobani in northeast Syria to deliver aid and supplies for the town’s reconstruction after an ISIS siege ended in January.

Two policemen were found dead in the Ceylanpınar district of the southeastern Urfa province, and the incident has widely been accepted as what ended the peace process. PKK’s armed wing took responsibility for the attack in the immediate aftermath, but later statements by the PKK maintained that the perpetrators were not connected to the organisation, and had been acting independently.

One day later, security forces launched a widespread operation that resulted in the detention of over 800 people, kicking off further protests and eventually leading to the declaration of curfews in several Kurdish-majority provinces that lasted uninterrupted for months in several places.

“We ordered the fight against terror on that day,” Davutoğlu said, adding that he ordered security forces to remain within confines of a democratic state with the rule of law, not hurting any civilians in the process.

A Turkish court in 2018 acquitted all nine suspects in the Ceylanpınar case.

Davutoğlu said he visited the HDP on July 15, 2015, telling the then-co-chair of the party Selahattin Demirtaş that the government would not allow for another incident like the Kobani protests of Oct. 6-8 in 2014.

One of the accusations against Demirtaş, who has been in prison since late 2016, has been incitement to hatred over the protests that resulted in the death of 52 people, 90 percent of whom Demirtaş said were HDP supporters.

The ISIS siege of the northeastern Syrian town of Kobani, which lies across the border from Turkey’s Urfa province, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s comments that Kobani was “about to fall” kicked off the widespread protests that came to be known as the October 6-8 Incidents.

Davutoğlu said his government’s emphasis on protecting civilians was abused at times, referring to the incident in the southeastern province of Şırnak where the dead body of Hacı Lokman Birlik was dragged behind an armoured vehicle. A video of the incident was spread to harm the fight against terror, Davutoğlu said.

“I immediately gave the order and those responsible were sacked,” he said.

Demirtaş had not criticised the PKK for statements harming the peace process, or reinstating attacks, Davutoğlu said.

The Future Party leader called for normalisation in Turkey, and said his party could hold talks with the HDP, if the party “distanced itself from terrorism”.

Meanwhile, spokesman for Davutoğlu's Future Party, Selim Temurci, told the Independent Turkish on Tuesday that a clique from within the AKP would soon be held acccountable for their actions.

Davutoğlu, who had served as Turkey’s foreign minister since 2009, was named as prime minister when Erdoğan moved to the presidency in 2014, and he led the AKP to election success in November 2015. But he reportedly fell foul of the president by attempting to act independently.

This conflict was brought to light in an anonymous list released on social media that detailed 27 disagreements between the president and prime minister.

The document was given the name “the Pelican file”, and attributed to a group that became known as “Pelicanists”. The Pelicanists are said to be linked to Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, and are believed to operate through Sabah newspaper, the government-linked think tank SETA, and another think tank called Bosphorus Global.