BDP leader Demirtaş harshly criticizes gov’t Syria policy

February 12, 2013, Tuesday/ 16:57:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Selahattin Demirtaş, leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), has said a car bomb which caused the death of 14 people at the Turkish-Syrian border gate of Cilvegözü on Monday is a result of the Turkish government's faulty policies toward the Syrian crisis.

Speaking during his party's parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Demirtaş stated that the Turkish government's foreign policy concerning the ongoing conflict between civilian opposition groups and the troops of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria has not been successful. Referring to the car bomb explosion that left 14 people dead and 28 injured at the Turkish-Syrian border gate of Cilvegözü in Hatay province, Demirtaş stated such incidents are the result of the misguided foreign policies of the government. Demirtaş also claimed that the Turkish government is training Syrian opposition forces within Turkish borders and sending them to fight Assad's troops in Syria. He added: “Turkey does not actually oppose violence against civilians in Syria, but rather opposes Kurdish communities there. The only reason [behind the government's policies] is a phobia of Kurdish people.”

Demirtaş also spoke during the meeting about the anniversary of the arrest in 1999 of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, which takes place on Feb. 15. The BDP leader said the Kurdish community is sensitive about the anniversary of Öcalan's arrest, and referred to failures in overcoming the longstanding Kurdish issues in Turkey. “The government is currently carrying out peace talks with Öcalan. ... Not only 14 years, but thousands of people have also been lost [in the process]. If the opportunities had been seized from the start, we would not be speaking about the problems, guns, tears and wars of the country today,” Demirtaş remarked.

The BDP head also commented on the death of a 19-year-old protester after a homemade bomb exploded in his hand in Diyarbakır province on Sunday. Demirtaş stated that although the Diyarbakır governor announced on Sunday that the protestor, Şahin Öner, died as result of injures caused by the explosion, the autopsy reports in fact reveal that he died due to injuries as a result of being crushed by a police panzer. “In this incident, the government became the murderer once again. The state's governor tried to cover up the incident. We are waiting for clarification from the Interior Ministry in the shortest time possible,” said Demirtaş.

Reports say Öner was attempting to throw the homemade bomb at police during an illegal demonstration in Diyarbakır when it exploded, causing him serious injuries from which he subsequently died. The group of PKK sympathizers gathered to protest with the approach of the 14th anniversary of the arrest of Öcalan.

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