Interior minister under fire over terror charges

Interior minister under fire over terror charges

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Interior minister under fire over terror charges

Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin faces severe criticism from the opposition parties for his remarks redefining terror. AA photo

Opposition parties lashed out at Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin yesterday after he suggested there was no distinction between legal Kurdish politicians and terrorists and claimed that artistic activities could constitute terrorism.

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Turkey’s main Kurdish political movement, also challenged prosecutors to launch a closure case against it after Şahin argued the BDP and Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) were equivalent to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community.

“We are turning ourselves in to the prosecutor. Our party’s activities are on record in Parliament. Come and do your best for the BDP’s closure, if you are under the command of the interior minister. If not, please give a reaction to the minister,” BDP deputy group leader Hasip Kaplan told reporters.
He said the activities of political parties in Turkey were monitored by the Constitutional Court and not the interior minister, adding that Şahin sought to meddle with the judiciary.

Pointing to recent promises by Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay for democratic reforms and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s remarks on granting Kurds constitutional rights, Kaplan said some ministers were playing the “good cop.”

“Besides İdris Naim Şahin, who plays the bad cop, there are deputy prime ministers who play the good cop. Are Beşir Atalay and Bülent Arınç’s statements their personal opinions, or are they binding for the government? We are awaiting an explanation from the prime minister,” Kaplan said.

Şahin also came under fire for saying some people backed terrorism “by painting, writing poems and
daily articles” to “demoralize those fighting against terrorism.”

“Terror means bombs, guns, mines and if there is no violence, then there is no terror,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy group chairman Muharrem İnce, who has published three poetry volumes, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“How can there be terror using poems? The interior minister’s statements go beyond a slip of the tongue. He is aiming to create a ‘terror organization’ that would cover all opposition forces,” İnce said.
Nevzat Korkmaz of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), a painter with four personal exhibitions, criticized Şahin for “often making gaffes,” but added there might be some people who give “intellectual support” to terrorism. “We all hope that no artist is involved in terrorism. I do not know whom the minister meant but he often makes gaffes,” Korkmaz said.