Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its extensions are seeking ways to gain the upper hand by resorting to provocations ahead of upcoming general elections scheduled for June 12.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the newly built Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security on Thursday, Erdoğan referred to the PKK’s recent partial ending of the cease-fire and said: “What we have here is a hunt for votes at the expense of our youths, the tears of mothers, the heartfelt pain of fathers and streets-turned-battlefield. Pure and simple opportunism.”
Noting that the people in eastern and southeastern Turkey have been ignored for many years, Erdoğan said: “We should win over their hearts. They are all our people. … We have been working to reduce terrorism for eight years, to change the situation in the region and to increase democratic standards. Without wavering at all, we will continue on with this fight until we prevail.”
The prime minister said the government has been working towards this end despite gangs and other illegal organizations trying to stop us. He added that they were left alone in this battle in Parliament. “Neither the main opposition nor other opposition parties supported solving [the issue of terrorism in eastern and southeastern Turkey]. On the contrary, they did everything in their power to provoke tension.”
Erdoğan also said there are actors who use the PKK to shape domestic politics. He warned all citizens, but those of Kurdish ethnicity in particular, to open their eyes to these “dirty relations, dirty scenarios and ugly plans.”
Criticizing the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the country’s leading pro-Kurdish party, of serving as a spokesman of the PKK, Erdoğan said: “You cannot become Turkey’s party if you spare all your labor, energy and politics on speaking on behalf of terrorism and if all you are concerned about is the prison conditions of the leader of the terrorist organization [Abdullah Öcalan]. You cannot embrace Turkey [in that way]. You cannot even serve the masses who vote for you. You run municipalities. What are you doing? We don’t know. What investments are being made there? We’ll go to the region and take a look. You don’t even do what municipalities are supposed to do.”