Turkish governor denies comments on Hizbullah

Turkish governor denies comments on Hizbullah

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The governor of the southeastern province of Batman has denied a report by The Economist which quoted him as saying that Iran was using Hizbullah against Turkey.

“The statements that are written under my name do not belong to me. General issues about the region were discussed during a meeting with the journalist who wrote this story [Amberin Zaman] and I have not made any statement that can have any political connotations,” said Yılmaz Arslan, governor of Batman province in a written statement sent to the Hürriyet Daily News today.

The Economist cited Arslan as saying that Hizbullah was “alive” and had made “a comeback with [the Free Cause Party] Hüda-Par,” a terrorist organization in Turkey. “Iran is using them to undermine Turkey and the peace process,” the magazine quoted the governor as saying. Hüda-Par is affiliated with Hizbullah, a terrorist organization in Turkey, which is unrelated to the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah.

The governor also said in the written statement that, “governors have the administrative experience to know that making comments on political parties or about the foreign policies is not within their position.”

In the same report, The Economist cited the Batman governor as saying Iran was using Hizbullah against Turkey.

“It is clear that Iran is behind them. Iran wants to stir things up,” Serhat Temel, Batman’s mayor from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) also said, according to the same report. This was because of the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK’s growing support among Iran’s own Kurds, he added.

Hüda-Par’s deputy chairman Hüseyin Yılmaz rejected the accusations, however, saying Iran was a convenient scapegoat for Turkey’s ills, but agreed that his party “respects the Iranian revolution.”

“We are Muslims before all else, but we will take note of the people’s wishes. And the people will no doubt cleave to Allah’s path,” Yılmaz also said upon a question of whether Hüda-Par, launched in December, want sharia rule.

Yılmaz recently called for a cease-fire between the PKK and Hizbullah, in the wake of three days of fighting between Islamic and Kurdish student groups in Diyarbakır’s Dicle University.

“I call on the two sides. A cease-fire must be secured between the Kurds’ two significant organized forces, the PKK and Hizbullah. They must sign an agreement. This is necessary to provide peace among Kurds. Otherwise, we will often see provocations similar to the ones we saw in Dicle,” Yılmaz told daily Hürriyet today.

Several members of Hizbullah, a Turkey-based fundamentalist terrorist organization, had been accused of killing 150 people and leaving hundreds wounded during the 1990s.