Kurdish row in Parliament

Kurdish row in Parliament


Tensions mounted yesterday between the government and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) as the prime minister accused the party of “openly supporting” terrorism and said Parliament would lose nothing if they decided to walk out.

BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş retorted, saying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan viewed the BDP as an “enemy” rather than an opposition party, arguing that the prime minister’s harsh rhetoric against the BDP and the municipalities it controls had a divisive effect on Kurdish people in the southeast.

Speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting, Erdoğan denounced BDP members for attending the funerals of militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara lists as a terrorist organization.

“BDP leaders and lawmakers have adopted an attitude that is virtually encouraging terrorism and openly supporting terrorism,” Erdoğan said, warning that “terror will one day hit the BDP like a boomerang.”

Referring to reports that the BDP might consider withdrawing from Parliament in protest at police raids targeting its members, Erdoğan said the legislature would lose nothing if they went.

“We made every effort for you to join Parliament. If you walk out, Parliament will lose nothing. Parliament will continue to work,” he said. “You should think about where you will go next if you walk out. They say they will have their parliament in Diyarbakır, what nonsense!” Erdoğan said.

Demirtaş, however, defended party members’ attendance at PKK funerals. “Not sharing the pain of the families and not claiming the bodies is the most dishonorable behavior. We do not accept this dishonor. While you are insulting the families, do you know what they are feeling?” he said, adding that the BDP had never condoned attacks against civilians.

Demirtaş questioned the circumstances of the killing of a PKK militant who hijacked a ferry in the Marmara Sea last week.

“Nobody knows what happened on the ferry,” he said, emphasizing that Kocaeli Gov. Ercan Topaca announced that the hijacker was not carrying any explosives.

“There are six bullets in his body, why? Why has a gag order been imposed on the crew and passengers of the ferry?” he asked.