“I ask my brothers in this region to see this fascist pressure of the PKK and its extensions. In fact they do. Parents who lose their sons [in fight with the PKK], artists, businessmen and civil society organizations are raising their voices courageously and are saying enough is enough,” Erdoğan said in the eastern province of Bitlis during an inauguration ceremony for newly opened departments at Bitlis Eren University.
“I am frequently saying this. Democracy is the antidote for terror. As democratic standards are increased in the country, investments [in the region] increase and the mistakes of the past are compensated for, my brothers in this region are also seeing the truths and standing against terror.
I hope the terrorist organization will not find a single issue to abuse. This process will continue. You will see, the PKK and its extensions will soon show their true colors and the people of this region will get rid of this terror problem,” he said.
By the extensions of the PKK, the prime minister refers to the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy (BDP) whom he accuses of failing to distance itself from the PKK. PKK members, who are fighting for autonomy in Turkey from their bases in northern Iraq, have escalated attacks in recent months, killing dozens of members of the security forces and many civilians since July.
In a separate speech during a party meeting on Friday in Bitlis, Erdoğan once again lashed out at critics of recent police operations against the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), who he said are trying to portray the KCK as a civil society organization. He said none of those arrested as part of the KCK operations were arrested without concrete evidence.
“How can an organization who seeks a parallel state be innocent?” he asked. Prosecutors say the KCK is a political umbrella organization that includes the PKK. KCK suspects are accused of various crimes, including membership in a terrorist organization, aiding and abetting a terrorist organization and attempting to destroy the country’s unity and integrity. The detainees include mayors and municipal officials from the BDP, which has said the investigation is the government’s method of suppressing its politicians, denying any links between the suspects and any terrorist organizations.