De facto occupation underway in Turkey’s southeast, chief of staff should resign: MHP leader
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli sits next to Yusuf Halaçoğlu during a parliamentary group meeting in Ankara June 10, with almost every lawmaker brandishing a Turkish flag in the assembly room. AA PhotoThe removal of a Turkish flag at an Air Force base in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır is indication of a de facto occupation by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has said, calling on the chief of general staff to resign over his responsibility for such a failure.
“If the flag is falling, then it means that there is occupation. If there is [somebody] who remains silent when the flag is being taken down, then there is occupation and the homeland is under captivity,” Bahçeli said on June 10, addressing a parliamentary group meeting of his party.
The meeting was his first public appearance since a protester took down the flag at the 2nd Air Force Command in Diyarbakır during protests on June 8, following the funeral of a man killed during clashes in nearby Lice.
“Will the 2nd Air Force Commander [Lieutenant Gen. Nejat Bilgin] and the Chief of General Staff [Gen. Necdet Özel] be virtuous to the extent of resigning?” Bahçeli said, while repeatedly blaming Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for “dragging the country into division via their peace process.”
Clashes had erupted between police and demonstrators after the funeral of Ramazan Baran in Diyarbakır’s suburban Bağlar district. Baran, 26, and Baki Akdemir, 50, both died from gunshot wounds during the security forces’ attack on a roadblock protest against the construction of a gendarmerie post in Lice.
“If the state is to survive, then it is a right to shoot the wretched one in the head,” Bahçeli said.
The MHP leader again argued that Erdoğan was “going soft” as he needs the support of the PKK and its jailed leader for his presidential ambitions, and said the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had its hands tied as it was obeying Erdoğan’s ambitions.
“The government’s stance has been encouraging the PKK. The process of treason has armed the PKK, offered bombs and encouraged it to kill. The wrong choices of the government led to fatal results. As Erdoğan spoke of ‘resolution,’ the PKK has pulled Turkey to collapse,” Bahçeli said, referring to the peace process, a government-led initiative aimed at ending the three-decade long clashes between the Turkish security forces and the PKK in a bid to pave the way for a peaceful resolution to the century-old Kurdish issue.