Police chief’s words stirs row

Police chief’s words stirs row

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Police chief’s words stirs row

‘In the model that we have proposed, police chiefs report to mayors. When Diyarbakır’s police chief reports to [Diyarbakır Mayor], then this gets us excited. Nothing other than that gets us excited,’ Demirtaş (L) says. DHA photo

The reaction to Diyarbakır Police Chief Recep Güven’s saying over the weekend that everyone must share in the blame when young people choose to “head to the mountains” to join the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been cautious, given the strength of Güven’s remarks.

Both the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have tentatively welcomed Güven’s remarks, while the Peace and Democracy (BDP) continues to categorically ignore them and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has criticized Güven for his statement.

Calling Güven’s statement “humane,” Ahmet Aydın, deputy chair of the AKP’s parliamentary group, said yesterday: “Since the very first day we came to power we have said ‘Let mothers stop crying, let the tears stop.’ A mother is a mother; her heart should be calm. No matter what, we say ‘Edi bese!’ [‘Enough is enough’ in Kurdish]. In this regard, we have begun taking the required steps. Our steps continue toward democratization and normalization.” There are no legitimate grounds for terrorism, he said, however.

Asked whether he was fully supporting Güven, Aydın said, “We don’t want people to be sad, or mothers to cry. We want sorrow and tears to cease. That is all we are fighting for.” Speaking upon his appointment as chief of police in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, where he worked as a police officer between 1991 and 1996, Güven said on Sunday that he felt both the heavy responsibility and the joy of returning to duty in Diyarbakır after 16 years.

BDP distant
“I felt at that time that you are not a human being if you are not touched by the death of a terrorist on the mountain. But if you cannot [prevent] a terrorist from killing people, including children, you are not a state. I hesitate between these two sentences,” Güven said. CHP Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu yesterday described the 1990s that Güven referred to, when he was himself working at the Diyarbakır Bar Association, as “a dark era.”

“It was also an era of oppression in regards to human rights. These statements, through which the police chief expressed his feelings concerning those years when he was here as a young person, are extremely important. The will to live together weakens and gradually disappears at times when grief and joy are not shared. The fact that the police chief urged us to pay attention to the past 20 years and that he expressed this in a striking statement is important and precious,” Tanrıkulu said, speaking in Diyarbakır. Also speaking in Diyarbakır, BDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş spoke further about the democratic autonomy his party defends, rather than making any positive or negative statement on Güven’s remarks.

“For us, the system’s views and practices are more important than the speech of a police chief or bureaucrat. In the model that we have proposed, police chiefs report to mayors. When Diyarbakır’s police chief reports to [Diyarbakır Mayor] Osman Baydemir, then this gets us excited. Nothing other than that gets us excited,” Demirtaş said.

In Ankara, speaking at a press conference at Parliament, MHP Deputy Chair Emin Haluk Ayhan was also asked to comment on Güven’s remarks. “What does he [Güven] think of the martyrs [soldiers killed fighting the PKK]? Ask him that too,” Ayhan said.