Turkish PM tells HDP to call on Cizre ‘terrorists’ to surrender

Turkish PM tells HDP to call on Cizre ‘terrorists’ to surrender

Turkish PM tells HDP to call on Cizre ‘terrorists’ to surrender

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Paramedic units trying to reach 28 civilians sheltering in a cellar in curfew-stricken Cizre in the southeastern province of Şırnak have come under fire during each attempt, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said, while telling the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to call on militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to surrender.

“Nobody can claim that Turkey broke the law while fighting against terror,” Davutoğlu said late Jan. 28.

While Davutoğlu was delivering these remarks at a press conference ahead of his departure for an official visit to Saudi Arabia, three HDP parliamentarians, who have been on hunger strike as of Jan. 27 and were staging a sit-in at the offices of the Interior Ministry to force authorities to send ambulances, also made a statement.

The number of wounded civilians in the cellar who have lost their lives has reached six, they said.

If no action was taken to reach those wounded and dead in the cellar, more HDP lawmakers would join the hunger strike, HDP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair İdris Baluken, HDP Deputy Co-Chair Meral Danış Beştaş and HDP Urfa Deputy Osman Baydemir, said in a joint written statement.

“We fight against terror and we would take all kinds of measures to rush any wounded person to hospital, no matter whether [he or she] is a terrorist,” Davutoğlu said. “But if ambulances wish to reach there, then terror elements there should immediately get out. Sincere calls should be made to them to surrender,” he said.

“I’m making a call to lawmakers who came to the Interior Ministry yesterday and have been waiting there: You have come to our Interior Ministry, okay, and our minister has hosted you. You have made all kinds of statements but for once, achieve to turn to Kandil and say ‘Enough is enough,’” Davutoğlu said.

Kandil is a byword for the leadership of the PKK, whose headquarters are in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq. 

“For once, instead of showing off by releasing images of a lawmaker from the parliament, stand by the people who are suffering there,” he said, in an apparent reference to remarks delivered by HDP’s Şanlıurfa deputy Baydemir on Jan. 27.

“No matter what is going on, protecting children, women and civilians is a moral and humanitarian duty for all of us,” Baydemir said during a plenary session of the parliament. “For God’s sake, for Mohammed’s sake, for the sake of whatever you have faith in, those who are dying in that building are you, they are the HDP row, the MHP row [Nationalist Movement Party], the CHP [Republican People’s Party] row and the AK Parti [Justice and Development Party] row,” he said, appealing to members of the assembly for empathy with those in Cizre. Unable to hold back his tears, Baydemir said, “Edi bese, edi bese, edi bese!” (“Enough is enough” in Kurdish), before his remarks were interrupted by AKP deputies.

Meanwhile, Davutoğlu explained exactly what he wanted HDP parliamentarians to say.

“Make a call saying, ‘While we speak here at the parliament of a democratic country, you cannot jeopardize lives of paramedic workers and patients there by setting barricades, digging holes and firing 20 rockets in one day at the Cizre Public Hospital,’” he said.

“We will do what is required. Both in terms of health services and in fight against terror, we will do what is required. All of these districts, cities and centers of population of ours will be cleaned of this terror trouble,” he added.