The state will never hold talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), or political parties that support the terrorist organisation, said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on January 20, vowing to eliminate all PKK militants.
Earlier, Deputy PM Yalcin Akdogan denied speculation that the government is holding secret talks with Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the PKK.
“There is no other road map: the PKK and their supporters will pay a price,” said Erdogan. Earlier this month, Erdogan called on parliament and the judiciary to take legal action against the mainly Kurdish HDP party and its deputies and mayors. Erdogan claimed that HDP lawmakers and mayors were acting like members of PKK.
Prosecutors this week launched a probe into Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for calling Erdogan a “tin-pot dictator”. Prosecutors opened the investigation against Kilicdaroglu on charges of insulting the president. Kilicdaroglu enjoys immunity as a member of parliament.
A two-year ceasefire between the state and the PKK collapsed in July, plunging Turkey into one of its worst periods of violence since the 1990s. Hundreds of security personnel, PKK militants and civilians have lost their lives since July. In the past, clashes between the security forces and PKK militants had mainly taken place in rural areas, but since July the violence has focused more on urban areas. The military claimed earlier this week that it had killed more than 500 PKK militants since mid-December.
Erdogan also continued his attacks on academics who signed a peace declaration criticising the military operations in the southeast. “You think you can try to undermine this country’s unity and continue to have a comfortable life and pay no price for this? Those days are over,” Erdogan said.
The authorities on January 15 detained a number of academics for signing the declaration, entitled “We won’t be a party to this crime”. The declaration has been signed by more than 2,000 people, among them foreign scholars such as Noam Chomsky, David Harvey and Immanuel Wallerstein. The detained Turkish academics were later released but procedures against them are ongoing.
The Hurriyet Daily News also reported that a woman has been sentenced to 11 months in prison for “insulting” Erdogan by shouting and directing a hand gesture toward him in the Aegean province of Izmir in 2014.