Kurdish Islamists make overture to left-wing rivals

The spokesperson for the Kurdish Islamist-origin Free Cause Party (Hüda-Par), Sait Şahin, has told television station KRT that his party is ready to “drink the sherbet of peace” with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet said.

“Even if it has carried out antagonism towards us in the past and we still see them as problematic - in terms of ideology, mentality, and approach - we are trying to take constructive steps in the name of fixing relations, normalisation, and bringing together different segments of society,” Şahin said.

“We believe that the two parties with a Kurdish base should normalise relations and we have taken steps towards this.”

Armed groups known to be close to the two parties – Kurdish Hezbollah and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) respectively – have had fatal clashes in recent memory, and it is uncertain to what degree their civilian politician counterparts will be able to rein them in.

Şahin said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had asked Hüda-Par to become part of its coalition with two Turkish nationalist parties, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Great Unity Party (BBP), but that talks had failed as they had been unable to reach an agreement.

He also criticised MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli for praising far-right mafia boss Abdullah Çatlı as someone who had done great service to the Turkish state.

Çatlı, who died in a car crash in 1996, was said to have carried out assassinations of minority militants, including Kurds, on behalf of the Turkish “deep state”.