Erdogan Meets DTP officials as part of efforts to solve ’Kurdish issue’

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ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)—Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and officials from the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, met Wednesday in Ankara. The leaders emerged to express hope for finding a solution to the Kurdish issue.

After years of delay, the Turkish prime minister met with a delegation from the Democratic Society Party, or DTP, on Wednesday as part of the government’s recently announced “Kurdish move.”

The meeting comes as part of the government’s effort to resolve the Kurdish issue through greater democratization, a motto announced by the government as part of its Kurdish initiative.

The DTP leader Ahmet Türk, vice chairman Emine Ayna and the deputy leader of the party’s parliamentary group Selahattin Demirtaş attended the hour-long meeting. Interior Minister Beşir Atalay and the Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, Bekir Bozdağ joined Prime Minister Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan and the DTP delegation.

Erdoğan defined the meeting as “very, very important” and said it took place under the democratic, parliamentary system of Turkey. “We are in the middle of a process and I believe our hopes for the future have increased with today’s meeting,” he told reporters after the meeting, news agencies reported.

He said the Interior Ministry had launched efforts to resolve the Kurdish issue, which seek to eventually end violence and bloodshed, adding that such steps are both theoretical and practical.

“I think we are going to take positive steps for the future based on the mutual trust as we expressed to each other in Wednesday’s meeting,” said Erdoğan, who earlier said earlier that he would meet with DTP officials not as prime minister but as the leader of the ruling AKP.

Erdoğan has refused to meet the DTP since the 2007 general elections because it has not condemned terrorist activities by the terror organization Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

DTP’s Türk echoed similar views with Erdoğan and hailed the meeting, saying this is the beginning of a dialogue process. “We hope and wish to see positive developments for a more democratic process that everybody embraces with love,” he told reporters.

He said everybody has responsibilities and duties in this process and that they are going to continue their efforts while taking social responsibilities into consideration.

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