Turkey PM invites pro-Kurdish MPs into caretaker cabinet

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday invited three lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peoples` Democratic Party (HDP) to join an interim government to take Turkey to November 1 elections.

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 26, 2015, 19:35 PM IST

Ankara: Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday invited three lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peoples` Democratic Party (HDP) to join an interim government to take Turkey to November 1 elections.

If they accept, it will be the first time in Turkish history that representatives of a pro-Kurdish party have taken seats in the government.

Davutoglu is forming the caretaker cabinet as a constitutional obligation following the failure to form a coalition after June 7 polls and analysts have suggested the outcome is one he had wanted to avoid at all costs. 

According to the Turkish constitution, such an interim government must be formed with ministries shared among Turkey`s parties according to their share of the seats in parliament.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will have 11 ministries, the second biggest party the Republican People`s Party five and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and HDP three apiece.

The cabinet will rule up until the polls, where the AKP hopes to regain its overall majority. 

Analysts have said the invitation for the HDP is hugely awkward for Davutoglu as Turkey forces an offensive against Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK) rebels.

Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have accused the HDP of being the political front for the PKK, which is outlawed by Turkey and its Western allies as a terror group.

HDP MPs Levent Tuzel, Muslum Dogan and Ali Haydar Konca have been invited into the cabinet, the state-run Anatolia news agency quoted a government statement as saying.

HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas has said his party is willing to take part in the caretaker cabinet.

Among those invited from the CHP is its former leader Deniz Baykal.

The CHP and MHP however have said they will not join the government. Unless they change their decision, their cabinet seats will be taken by apolitical experts.

This raises the prospect of the AKP having the HDP as its sole political cabinet partner until the November 1 polls.

Analysts have suggested this could be a tactical miscalculation by the AKP as it will allow the HDP to gain respectability while also tempting nationalist voters to plump for the MHP.

"This is a worst-case scenario for Davutoglu and the AKP," wrote Murat Yetkin, editor-in-chief of Hurriyet Daily News.

In the invitation, Davutoglu has asked the prospective ministers for a reply by 1500 GMT Thursday.

Reports have indicated the HDP could be offered the ministries of youth and sports, water and forests and EU affairs, but not key security portfolios.