Definition of ‘terrorists’ should be broadened to include ‘accomplices,’ says Erdoğan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a dinner to celebrate doctor’s day on March 14, 2016. AA PhotoThe definition of “terrorists” needs to be broadened to include supporters of terrorism, who are equally guilty, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has argued in the aftermath of the third major suicide bomb attack to hit Ankara in the past five months.
“Their titles as an MP, an academic, an author, a journalist do not change the fact that they are actually terrorists. An act of terror is successful because of these supporters, these accomplices,” Erdoğan told reporters and an audience of medics during a dinner to celebrate doctor’s day on March 14.
“It’s not only the person who pulls the trigger, but those who made that possible who should also be defined as terrorists,” he added.
The gist of the matter was not freedom of speech or freedom of the press, the president claimed, but rather counter-terrorism.
“Some circles, at home and abroad, are at a junction. They will either side with us, or with terrorists. There is no middle way,” he said.
Erdoğan had previously urged the Turkish parliament and the judiciary to take steps to lift the immunities of Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies.
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.
One of the other deputies who faces losing their immunity is Sırrı Süreyya Önder, who was an active member of a HDP group involved in talks with jailed outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan during the now-failed “peace process.”
The other two deputies are Ertuğrul Kürkçü from the Aegean province of İzmir and Selma Irmak from the eastern province of Hakkari.
At least 37 people were killed and over 100 were wounded when a suicide car bomb attack struck a busy spot near Ankara’s Güvenpark in the capital’s central Kızılay neighborhood on March 13.
Although no official statement has been made on the identities of the perpetrators, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on March 14 that PKK involvement in the attack was “almost certain.”