MHP leader slams PM for equating Turkish to Kurdish
DHA PhotoNationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has attacked Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu for his embrace of being greeted as “Serok Ahmet” during a recent meeting in the predominantly Kurdish-populated city of Diyarbakır, where he saluted the residents of the city in Kurdish.
“Who is Davutoğlu, who embraces being ‘Serok Ahmet’ in Diyarbakır with a smile on his face, in reality? Where is he?” Bahçeli said on Jan. 27, recalling that Davutoğlu pays tribute to nationalist figures in other provinces, unlike when he visits provinces in Southeastern Anatolia.
“Serok” means leader in Kurdish and is an adjective associated with the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, who sympathizers refer to as “Apo.” During rallies, his supporters chant “Bijî Serok Apo,” (“Long live Apo”) and “Be Serok Jiyan Nabe” (“There’s no life without the leader”).
Attending a provincial convention of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Diyarbakır over the weekend, Davutoğlu saluted Kurds in their own language, drawing bursts of applause. “I would like to learn our nice Kurdish language as much as our nice Turkish language, if I can find time,” he said.
“We came here to make our beautiful Turkish and Kurdish people brothers and sisters with each other,” Davutoğlu added, while later telling reporters that he has a grammar book to assist in learning Kurdish at home.
But MHP head Bahçeli was not impressed. “Davutoğlu can learn the language of the Polynesians if he wants. He can speak a language spoken in the Andes ... But his equation of Turkish to Kurdish, showing-off, is a situation of degeneration,” he said.
“We don’t have an eye on anybody’s mother tongue and we will not have a word to say on this. However, the Turkish nation’s language is Turkish and this fact will not change and nobody will ever have the power to change this,” he also vowed.
Bahçeli also criticized the prime minister for sending greetings to the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane while in Diyarbakır.
“When he greeted Kobane, who he was addressing is obvious ... His greeting to Kobane is a greeting and a warm ‘hello’ to the PKK and the [Democratic Union Party] PYD,” he said.
“Greeting Kandil and greeting Kobane - there is no difference between them. There are only terrorists in Kobane,” Bahçeli added.
Davutoğlu’s response came swiftly, addressing the parliamentary group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“Nobody should attempt to preach to us about nationalism,” Davutoğlu said, adding that not only the MHP, but also the main opposition Republican People’s Party 8CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), were annoyed at his speech in Diyarbakır, which he said “embraced everybody without striking any separatist note.”
“The MHP was annoyed about my salute in Kurdish. The MHP is provoking some circles under the guise of claiming Turkish. Nobody should preach to us about Turkish,” he said, claiming that Turkish has become “a more global language during the AKP’s period in government.”
Kandil is a byword for the other leaders of the PKK apart from Öcalan, whose headquarters are in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq.