Nationalist party gathers huge crowds in İzmir in reaction to peace process
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
The huge crowd caused disruption to traffic in the city, daily Hürriyet reported. Some MHP supporters followed the meeting near the seaside promenade on small boats. DHA photoThe opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) organized a meeting against the current peace process on the Kurdish issue initiated by the government in İzmir April 20, attracting thousands of people in a town known to view the ongoing talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) with skepticism.
Huge crowds waved Turkish flags and held photographs of soldiers killed during clashes with PKK militants. The city is bastion of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), but it is also home to a large population of Kurds who have migrated from the east to find work.
As a fierce opponent of the talks, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has initiated a series of nine meetings in nine different cities, branded “Protect and Cherish National Values” meetings. The first was held in Bursa on March 23.
Describing the İzmir meeting, the second on the agenda, as the “flag meeting,” Bahçeli slammed critics who said supporters of the process outnumbered those who rejected it.
“We will not give permission to those who try to tear [the Turkish flag] apart. Because it’s the symbol of our independence,” Bahçeli said.
He also intensified his criticism of the 63 "wise persons" selected by the government to win public support for the process. “The PKK’s ambassadors, half intellectuals, terror peddlers, blood barons, death mongers, the immorals who speak seditiously of 'solutions' and 'peace' should fear this noise. These 63 should fear. They should quickly stop creating dissension,” he said.
Bahçeli also attacked Prime Minister Erdoğan. “If surrendering to the terrorist organization will bring spring, why did we fight for 29 years. Some thoughts about this, Mr. Erdoğan,” he said.