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PM Erdoğan issues a call to Turkey’s Kurds amid Nevruz tensions, calling on them to abandon the country’s main pro-Kurdish party

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DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin not to lend their support to the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

“I want to address my Kurdish-origin brothers: My brothers, the BDP is a party that cannot stand on its own feet and pursue its own political agenda,” Erdoğan said yesterday during the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting.

“The BDP has not proven itself worthy of protecting your rights; it is under the yoke of terror. How can such a party prioritize your demands,” he said about the country’s main pro-Kurdish party.

The prime minister added that BDP deputies “who were elected by the people act on orders not from the voters but from Kandil,” in reference to the area in northern Iraq where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is based.

“This party can never create solutions to the Kurdish issue and the problems of my Kurdish-origin brothers,” Erdoğan said, calling on Kurds to support the AKP, which he said was “the solution to [your] problems.”

“My Kurdish-origin brothers should see the real face of the BDP and should understand its real intention,” Erdoğan said. “They should be aware that the BDP has no will of its own.”
Erdoğan also held the BDP responsible for “ugly provocations” that led to deadly street clashes between Kurdish demonstrators and the security forces in the lead-up to yesterday’s celebration of Nevruz.

Erdoğan defended the authorities’ decision to ban festivities ahead of March 21 Nevruz on the grounds of intelligence “that required us to act more cautiously.” He also slammed media who criticized the ban, saying they were close to the PKK.

“Once again the BDP did what it does the best – provoking the masses into what was virtually a rehearsal to turn our cities into a battlefield. The terrorist organization [PKK] also did what it does the best – poisoning the spring festival with its calls to turn Nevruz into an uprising,” he said.

Erdoğan also vowed a continued, unabated military clampdown on the PKK while adding that clashes were continuing in the Cudi Mountains in the southeastern province of Şırnak. “There is no stopping. This struggle will continue until the end,” he said.

In further remarks, Erdoğan said 20 legal provisions would be amended to expand support and privileges for the families of security forces killed in the anti-terror struggle in the line of duty, as well as to soldiers and policemen who are disabled. Under the changes, civilians killed in terrorist attacks would also be considered “martyrs” and benefit from state assistance, he said.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

March/22/2012

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