Turkish President Erdoğan accuses opposition parties of instigating street violence

Turkish President Erdoğan accuses opposition parties of instigating street violence

Turkish President Erdoğan accuses opposition parties of instigating street violence

President Erdoğan speaks during a rally in the Black Sea city of Trabzon. AA Photo

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused both the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) of instigating the latest wave of unrest over the fighting in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane that has killed more than 30 people.

In an unusually politically charged speech for the office of the president, Erdoğan denounced a “perception operation” claiming that Turkey was not helping Kobane incited people to take to the streets.

Erdoğan argued that the two parties did not have the right to criticize the government because they did not lend support to a parliamentary motion adopted last week that authorized the launch of military incursions into Syria and Iraq for possible operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“Saying that Turkey isn’t helping Kobane is ingratitude. You oppose the motion in Parliament and then make a call for violence by saying that Turkey is not helping Kobane,” he said during a rally in the Black Sea city of Trabzon on Oct. 10.

Erdoğan accused the CHP of not cooperating with the government against terrorism in an attempt to “give the impression that they had adopted a cautious position,” while he blamed the HDP for collaborating with the street protesters.

“When the violence in the streets ceases, people will pay for this spoiled behavior,” he threatened, warning that the government would respond firmly to such incidents despite the ongoing Kurdish peace process.

“The resolution process doesn’t mean submitting and retreating with fear in the face of threats,” Erdoğan said, also comparing the latest unrest to the Gezi protests and the graft investigations targeting the government.

“The steps that we are making toward democratization are disturbing some inside and outside the country … But they will not be successful in their dirty plots,” he said.

The president, however, did not single out the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), despite supporters of the party being accused of killing four people on Oct. 9 in Gaziantep. He also praised the police and the security forces, and did not address allegations that police officers or soldiers had killed protesters after strafing crowds in the east and southeast.

Turkey the ‘only country’ helping Kobane

Stressing that Turkey had opened its doors to 200,000 people following ISIL’s assault on Kobane, Erdoğan said Turkey was the "only country" giving assistance. “There are 130,000 [Syrian] refugees in Europe while Turkey alone hosts 1.5 million refugees,” he said.

He also said Turkey had adopted all necessary precautions against terrorism, once again equating ISIL with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We are showing a very principled and responsible attitude against all terrorist groups in the region. We have lost many of our citizens against the separatist terror group PKK over the past 30 years. We are showing the same attitude against ISIL which is terrorizing Iraq and Syria. All other terror groups are also a threat for Turkey,” he said, while also slamming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for waging "state terror." 

The HDP has rejected claims that it has called for violence, while CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu yesterday proposed a narrower cross-border motion that only included the possibility of a military excursion to save Kobane.