PKK supporters could be stripped of citizenship, Erdoğan suggests

PKK supporters could be stripped of citizenship, Erdoğan suggests

PKK supporters could be stripped of citizenship, Erdoğan suggests

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Turkey must be resolute in using all measures against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), including stripping its supporters of citizenship, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said April 5, while Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has also vowed not to negotiate with the group.

“Perhaps we are dying one by one, but at least we are killing them in their tens, twenties and thirties. This is continuing like that. We have to be resolute in taking all measures to incapacitate supporters of the terror organization, including stripping them of their citizenship. They cannot even be our citizens,” Erdoğan said in an address to lawyers in Ankara for Lawyer’s Day.

Davutoğlu also swiftly followed in the footsteps of Erdoğan, saying nobody should expect their ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to take the PKK as an “interlocutor.”

“Nobody should expect from us to address the terror organization who have arms and blood on their hands as an interlocutor. From now on, we have a single interlocutor; that is our nation and each individual of our nation,” Davutoğlu said April 5.

In recent months, Turkey has been hit by its worst violence in years, after a fragile peace process was shattered in July 2015 following a two-and-a-half-year de facto cease-fire between security forces and PKK militants.

“Those who are currently meeting with the terrorist organization speak of ‘negotiations.’ But there are no issues to be negotiated,” Erdoğan said as recently as April 4.

The PKK is listed as terrorist organization by Turkey as well as by the European Union and the United States. In late December 2012, then-Prime Minister Erdoğan personally made public that intelligence agents were meeting with the jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, in an attempt to end the three-decade-long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the PKK.

“Terror organizations can only be interlocutors for our security forces who reflect the strong will of our nation. Nobody can cross lines by testing and questioning our resolve in the fight against terror,” Davutoğlu said.

Following a highly symbolic visit to the southeastern province of Diyarbakır under intense security measures last week, Davutoğlu appeared to suggest the PKK could send its armed components abroad as a condition for a restart to the peace process. 

“We didn’t end the peace process. The ones who set up barricades, dug holes and called for a civil war ended it,” Davutoğlu was quoted as saying to a group of journalists during his visit to Diyarbakır on April 1, according to daily Habertürk.

“What the public expects from the peace process is the complete abandonment of arms. If that happens and we go back to May 2013, and if the PKK sends all of its armed components abroad, leaving no armed element in Turkey, then everything can be talked about. The PKK has to lay down arms, there is no other way. Why wouldn’t talks take place in peaceful conditions after guns are laid down?” he said, in remarks which were reported by several dailies in addition to Habertürk and have so far not been denied by his office.