Erdoğan says HDP’s Sur march ‘a call to terror’
AP Photo (L), Cihan Photo (R)Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said a call by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for a public demonstration in the Sur district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, where a curfew has been imposed for more than three months, is a “call for terror.”
Diyarbakır police dispersed numerous crowds that gathered upon the call, using water cannon and tear gas.
“There is no need to file a criminal complaint. Everything is clear and this is an invitation to public prosecutors,” Erdoğan said during a visit to Nigeria.
While underlining his belief that his “Kurdish brothers” would not comply with a call that “smells like terror, that smells like an invitation to terror,” Erdoğan added that nobody has the right to “create trouble or break the peace.”
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also said March 2 that Selahattin Demirtaş, the HDP co-chair who made the call, was “plotting against the country” and “collaborating with terrorists to drag Turkey into chaos.”
“Their business is in no way the country’s peace and tranquility, but on the contrary, dragging Turkey into chaos [and] collaborating with terrorists,” Davutoğlu said in Ankara, while responding to journalists in Ankara during a joint press meeting with Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ömer Kalyoncu. “We will not allow this. I’m saying it again,” he said.
Demirtaş had made a joint call with Democratic Regions Party (DBP) co-chair Kamuran Yüksek on March 1, urging Diyarbakır’s residents to march toward Sur in protest of the military curfew and clashes that have been continuing for over three months.
“We do not view a 24-hour war being waged in the center of a city for three months as an ordinary situation. All Diyarbakır residents should rise up in order to lift the blockade in Sur. Everyone should march toward Sur from their residences on March 2 at 4 p.m.,” Demirtaş said at a press conference, urging locals to be “resolute in calling for their democratic rights.”
His remarks, however, were followed by an official statement by the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office, imposing an entry ban on Sur, effective from mid-day on March 2.
“It is prohibited for any individuals, other than permanent residents of Sur, to enter the district starting from 12 p.m. on March 2,” an official statement released by the governorate said.
With the ban, the governor hoped to “prevent crime” by taking the necessary precautions against “disruptions of public order and safety.”
“Our citizens’ conformity to the ban is important with respect to the peace and security of our province,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, a probe has been launched into both Demirtaş and Yüksek for their call.
Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala also commented on the matter, calling Demirtaş’s statement a “provocation” and urging local residents “not to yield to provocations.” He also added that those who provoke must suffer the consequences, referring to the probe.
“Wherever there are trenches, bomb set-ups or terrorist pressure disturbing our citizens, we will surely hold [military] operations at those places,” Ala said.