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POLITICS >Erdoğan: Iron fist in velvet glove will crush terror

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reiterated his call to broaden the definition of “terrorists” to include supporters of “terrorism” while also expressing his eagerness to strike the country’s enemies even harder.

“If the state doesn’t strike its [iron] fist in a velvet glove on the heads of terrorists, they will continue hurting us each day. This issue has no relation to human rights, freedom of thought, freedom of press and democracy. Those who use these concepts along with ‘terror’ and ‘terrorist’ should know that they have been making our nation’s conscience bleed,” Erdoğan said. 

In the aftermath of a March 13 suicide bomb attack, which killed 37 people and wounded more than 120 people in the third major suicide bomb attack to hit Ankara in the past five months, Erdoğan said there was a need to form a “national coalition” against all threats aimed at Turkey.

Erdoğan emphasized that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which focuses on the Kurdish issue, was not part of his concept of the nation.

“I’m no longer seeing members of the party which acts as a side branch of the terrorist organization [the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party - PKK] as legitimate political actors, no offense,” he said March 16, in an apparent reference to the HDP which he and the government frequently accuse of siding with the PKK.

“Here, I repeat once more, we should immediately redefine ‘terror’ and ‘terrorist.’ We should immediately amend the Penal Code according to this new definition. We should provide all kinds of legal and technical opportunities to our security forces, prosecutors and judges to enable them to effectively fight against terror and terrorists,” he said. 

“We have seen how the so-called intellectuals approached the incidents even in this one, haven’t we? You’ve seen it. You have seen how some rags made some kind of reports. There are headlines like ‘Damn your presidential system.’ We don’t have such a problem,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan’s comments, in a speech addressing a group of village and neighborhood chiefs (muhtars) at the presidential palace, came after a senior official from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) told Reuters earlier in the day that Turkey was working on widening the “terror crime” definition to include those who use the media to support or praise acts of violence.

Erdoğan repeatedly cautioned journalists, academics and lawmakers they should not think of themselves as immune from prosecution under anti-terrorism laws. He slammed the country’s media outlets which referred to his ambitions for a presidential system in relation to the latest suicide car bomb attack, chastising them for not standing tall in the face of terrorist attacks. 


‘Erdoğan should go’

“Saying ‘Tayyip Erdoğan should go,’ means saying ‘Let the mentality of having one nation, one flag, one homeland and one state on which we built our entire politics come down,” he said.

The president suggested that some headlines in the Western media and remarks delivered by the PKK leadership were identical since they both suggested that an end to his leadership would usher in “stability” in Turkey.

“We should swiftly conclude the immunity issue. The parliament should swiftly take its step on this issue. I mean, we cannot discuss whether it will be one person or two persons,” Erdoğan said, accusing the HDP deputies of “inciting terrorism.”

A summary of proceedings asking for the removal of the immunities of five HDP deputies, including co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, was submitted to the parliament speaker on March 9. 
The HDP, the third largest party in the national assembly, currently holds 59 seats.


‘The vacuum’

Erdoğan, meanwhile, indicated that a purge of elements of the “parallel state structure,” a purported illegal organization allegedly led by U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, has led to a “vacuum” which still has not been filled.

“The parallel state structure organization has led us to lose ground and time by sucking Turkey’s energy, opportunities and potential virtually like a blood-sucker for many years,” Erdoğan said. “Now, we have been exerting efforts on one side to correct a mistake, and on the other side, to fill the vacuum that has occurred swiftly and in a healthy way. We will make up for it,” he added.

March/16/2016

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