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Turkey’s nationalist opposition leader has strongly urged Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu “to not drag his feet” and complete ongoing security operations against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in order to reach a lasting solution, as he openly called on the prime minister to “level” a southeastern district “to the ground.”
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also strongly pushed on April 5 to “urgently” lift the immunities of members of parliament who he dubbed “extensions of the PKK,” in an apparent reference to deputies of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
“Mr. Prime Minister, here is my advice to you: Make a call to our citizens who have been living in Nusaybin [a district in the southeastern province of Mardin] and other provinces and districts where operations are ongoing. Grant them three days and take them to secure places by ensuring that they evacuate the cities.
Afterwards, level Nusaybin to the ground and leave nobody alive. Do not let our martyrs’ blood remain on the ground,” Bahçeli said, while speaking at a parliamentary group meeting of his party.
Security sources told Reuters news agency on April 5 that in the town of Nusaybin near the Syrian border, which has been under curfew for three weeks, a PKK rocket attack killed an army major and another officer on April 4.
“While sleeves have already been rolled up to remake Sur, Nusaybin would also be rebuilt and both Şırnak and Yüksekova would also be rebuilt from scratch and in line with Turkish-Islam architecture,” he suggested, referring to a number of other southeastern Turkish cities which have been scene to recent clashes between the PKKand Turkish security forces.
Davutoğlu has recently been promoting a controversial redevelopment plan for the region. During a visit to the southeastern province of Diyarbakır’s Sur district, which is surrounded by UNESCO-listed Roman-era walls, Davutoğlu unveiled a video depicting a lavish plan for the redevelopment of Sur, drawing criticism from HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş for focusing only on reconstruction.
“If martyrdoms are not stopped and bad news reaching almost every province does not end, I’m warning, Turkey will be dragged into civil war, God forbid, it will resemble Syria. The course of events is towards this direction,” Bahçeli added.
“Let’s primarily and urgently lift the immunities of the extensions of the PKK in parliament who lend support to terror and virtually have a share in crimes and murders,” Bahçeli also said on April 5, in an apparent reference to HDP deputies.
Turkish authorities declared a curfew in the southeastern town of Silopi on April 5, afterPKK militants hit an armored police vehicle with a rocket, killing one officer and wounding four, security sources told Reuters. They also said two police officers were wounded in a bomb attack on an armored vehicle on April 4 in Lice, near Diyarbakır.
“Mr. Davutoğlu, you should know that time is passing and the nation’s conscience is bleeding. Do not drag your feet, do not play for time and do not write on water. Let’s remove the immunity armor of HDP deputies. The entire nation asks for this,” he added.
Recalling reports saying PKK militants have been hiding explosives inside walls in order to avert the Jammer system, which is used by security forces to reduce the risks of explosions by remotely detonating devices inside buildings, Bahçeli argued the PKK has strayed from its own “routine.”
“Neither the President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan], nor the prime minister have been able to predict the terrorists’ attack plans; they couldn’t interpret their new barbaric methods,” he said.
Bahçeli’s statement followed Erdoğan’s April 4 remarks when he said PKK militants had no option other than to lay down arms or surrender to Turkey’s security forces and dismissed any prospect of further “negotiations” with the group.