Top Turkish business council calls for Kurdish peace
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkey's largest trade association on Saturday called for a new resolve to make peace between the country's unyielding Kurdish population and the Turkish state during a meeting of top businesspeople in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir.
In a speech, President of the Turkish Industry and Business Association Erol Bilecik suggested a nonmilitary solution to what he described as "the Kurdish Problem."
Bilecik said attempts that have been undertaken to peacefully bring an end to the decades-long conflict between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the government forces had found support among all Turkish citizens especially the Kurds.
"In the term ahead, we long for an irreversible abandonment of the armed struggle," said Bilecik in an apparent call to the PKK whose guerrillas and the Turkish army continue to fight over government's suppression of Kurdish demands.
The conflict that spread in more than a dozen Kurdish towns and cities which saw large scale infrastructure destruction and displacement of half a million has taken more than two thousand lives only in the past two years.
Bilecik also invited the government to facilitate conditions necessary for PKK to lay down arms, a proposal difficult to find any hearers in Ankara as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is particularly distraught with the US-sponsored emergence of a Kurdish entity in the north of war-torn Syria.
"We believe in the creation of circumstances that can help build means of dialogue and open up the way for politics for [peace]," added Bilecik.
The businessman's remarks were a reminder of the now collapsed 2013-2015 peace talks initiated under the leadership of PKK's imprisoned founder Abdullah Ocalan and a then Prime Minister Erdogan.
Bilecik also asserted the need to lift an ongoing state of emergency in place since the botched summer 2016 military coup attempt, adding democracy could flourish only if freedom of expression and that of media were guaranteed.
Editing by Ava Homa
(Kurdistan24 Diyarbakir Bureau contributed to this report.)