Erdoğan rejects criticism over recent KCK arrests

Erdoğan rejects criticism over recent KCK arrests

Erdoğan rejects criticism over recent KCK arrests

DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has rejected criticism over the latest wave of arrests in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case, implying that a prominent academic who was among those apprehended preached armed rebellion against the state.

“Those who defend the KCK must check themselves,” Erdoğan warned on Nov. 3 in remarks to reporters accompanying him on a flight from Berlin to Cannes for a G-20 summit.

Earlier this week, a court ordered the arrest of legal professor Büşra Ersanlı and renowned publisher and free speech activist Ragıp Zarakolu as part of the case, which is probing the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“What is the KCK? Who is behind it? They are defending the KCK without seriously researching these things,” Erdoğan said. “Do they claim that this has nothing to do with the PKK terrorist organization?”

The prime minister hinted that prosecutors had recordings of Ersanlı’s classes at an academy run by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in which she spoke of armed rebellion.

“They speak of revolution. Revolutions are made with guns. The prosecutors conducted a [wiretap] and caught this,” he said. “Everything will come to light once the indictment is drawn up.”

‘Minister Şahin should resign’

The arrests have prompted the BDP, which is mainly focused on the Kurdish issue, to announce preparations for a criminal complaint against Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin for accusations targeting the party and arbitrary practices in the KCK investigation.

“The presumption of innocence and the independence of the judiciary are being violated. This is a crime, and no one, not even the prime minister or a minister, is free to commit such a crime anywhere in the world,” BDP Deputy Chair Meral Danış Beştaş said.

“Of course, if Ersanlı is provoking the public to revolt, what is necessary will be done. But the minister is distorting the charges [against the suspects], which even their lawyers have not yet seen,” Beştaş was quoted as saying by daily Vatan.

“If the claims against Ersanlı cannot be proven, then the honorable thing for Minister Şahin to do would be to resign,” she said.

Stressing that the BDP was following the KCK arrests on a daily basis, Beştaş said the figure stood at 3,457 people, contesting Şahin’s statement that only 752 suspects had been arrested since 2009.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan also denied claims that the Turkish military had used chemical weapons in a recent offensive against the PKK in the Kazan Valley on the border with Iraq.

“This is slander. The operations in the Kazan Valley were carried out by our Air Force. The [bodies of] PKK members who were killed in the caves are currently in the Forensic Medicine Institute in Malatya, where everything is proceeding according to the law, down to the DNA tests,” he said.

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