Erdoğan denies government reached deal with Kurds at Dolmabahçe

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has denied that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) agreed on the blueprint for a resolution of Turkey’s decades-old Kurdish issue, known as the “Dolmabahçe consensus,” that was declared after talks between the government and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in February of 2014.

“He [a senior HDP official] was [recently] talking about the Dolmabahçe blueprint. What is the Dolmabahçe blueprint? Where did this emerge? There is nothing such an agreement. This [AK Party] government never had an agreement with a terrorist organization,” Erdoğan said on Sunday.

The government, under then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, initiated a settlement process in 2012 to resolve the Kurdish issue through secret talks with the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, but the process came to a standstill last year amid criticism from Erdoğan and the government backtracked on a series of planned steps, including the formation of a group of observers to monitor the talks between Öcalan and state officials.

The planned measures were part of a declaration read out by HDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder after talks with Akdoğan and then-Interior Minister Efkan Ala at İstanbul’s Ottoman-era Dolmabahçe Palace on Feb. 28, 2014.

Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan (C) and senior officials from both the HDP and the government are seen announcing the Dolmabahçe blueprint in this file photo.
But Erdoğan later directed surprise criticism at the meeting and claimed that he had no information about its content, putting the planned measures on hold.

“I will never accept the term ‘Dolmabahçe consensus.’ There can be no such thing. Why? Because here there is the government [on the one hand] and a political party [on the other]. Who is reaching a consensus with whom, on what and for what purpose?” Erdoğan told reporters after Eid al-Fitr prayers in İstanbul, insisting that any consensus that will affect the future of the country should come from within Parliament.

The HDP had also said that Erdoğan was informed about the meeting, and that he intervened in the talks to solve a crisis that arose as they were ongoing. Former deputy prime minister and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Bülent Arınç also recently said he personally knows that President Erdoğan knew about the blueprint.

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