Turkey PM mocked for 'printing error' peace process omission

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu drew ridicule after using 'printing error' excuse

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Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu drew ridicule Monday after blaming a printing error for the absence of any mention of the peace process with Kurdish rebels in his party's manifesto for June 7 elections.

The peace process to end a decades-long conflict with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) has been one of the cornerstone policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) which has been in power for over 12 years.

But commentators were mystified last week when there was no mention of the peace process neither in the AKP's 350-page election manifesto nor in a long speech by Davutoglu to present it.

The prime minister insisted that the omission had no meaning and said some pages had slipped off on the way to the printers due to a problem with the digital formatting.

"We noticed that some pages fell out when the manifesto was being sent to printer: one or two pages fell out," Davutoglu said on Sunday.

"But those pages will be added back and the manifesto will be reprinted," he added.

Journalists also pointed to the fact that the word "Kurdish" had been mentioned only once in the manifesto, which referred to the country's biggest minority as "Kurdish origin citizens".

His statement drew widespread ridicule on social media, with users arguing that a party cannot run a country if it is unable to use a printer.

"You don't even know how to use a printer, how can you run a country?" said Twitter user @seldaalkan.

Journalist Bulent Kenes from the now strongly anti-AKP Zaman daily quipped: "I didn't know you (Davutoglu) had such a great sense of humour!"

The government is seeking to make peace with Kurdish leaders to end the decades-long insurgency in the southeast by the PKK for self-rule and greater rights that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The AKP is relying on Kurdish support in June 7 parliamentary elections to push through changes to the country's constitution to create a system in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would wield strong executive powers.

However the peace process appears to have hit a stumbling block in recent months with divisions over whether the PKK should disarm before or after a peace deal.