PKK ENDS CEASE-FIRE IN TIME FOR TURKISH ELECTIONS
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) ended Monday a unilateral cease-fire it had declared in August, the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency reported.
The news agency cited a statement from the PKK that said it would "defend itself more effectively" but refrain from attacks. The statement added that the cease-fire could not be maintained due to the ruling Justice and Development Party's "unwillingness" to resolve the Kurdish issue.
Speaking following the release of the statement, the co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) blamed the ruling AKP for "wasting such cease-fire periods since 2002" and claimed it has never been genuine on peace issues.
"The [AKP] only used [the peace process] as a way to increase its votes and strengthen its power," BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said, calling on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to explain what steps he would now take to resolve the Kurdish issue.
Emin Ekmen, a member of parliament representing the Batman district for the AKP, criticized the decision to end the cease-fire. "There are no rights that can be gained with guns and violence. The blood to be spilled will only serve undemocratic forces," Ekmen said, noting that the country would hold free elections in just a few months.
"All rights and suggestions can be discussed in the parliament these days. I believe Turks and Kurds will not be tricked by this game," Ekmen added.
The PKK criticized Turkey for prosecuting elected Kurdish politicians who are part of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) case and claimed it has ignored calls to investigate mass graves in the country's Southeast that allegedly hold the remains of Kurdish people, the Associated Press reported. The KCK is an illegal organization that is accused of being the PKK's urban wing. The outlawed group also accused the government of failing to improve prison conditions for imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. "[The AKP government] has defined the discussions of democratic autonomy as treason, and thus left the debate vulnerable to attacks," the statement added.
In his comments following the statement, BDP co-leader Demirtaş characterized Southeast Anatolia as "a powder keg about to explode" and said, "No one is aware of that." He argued that the government's Kurdish initiative is not meaningful "while the people have been stalled, deceived and beaten in the streets for years."
Demirtaş said no one will be able to halt "a continuous rebellion" if it begins, they are perceiving it and looking for a way out within the scope of politics."
Sezgin Tanrıkulu, deputy leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) spoke to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Monday and said they are in favor of solving all problems with an understanding of "total freedom, peace and negotiation," not with guns. "All political parties should approach the problem apart from daily concerns, with having a big responsibility and common rapprochement. In this context in order to tackle the threshold in the elections that prevents just representation, we proposed a 'commission of realities' to be built, for the rebuilding of the justice," Tanrıkulu said.
Tanrıkulu said they view it as "unfortunate" that the governing party has resisted their proposals, which they believe would have served democracy. Tanrıkulu claimed the governing party was acting with "short-term fears and calculations" in this context.
"We believe in order to let the people's will be reflected in the ballot boxes, the election period should not be dragged into an environment of violence and conflict. Because of that, we once again express our call for an end to the violence," Tanrıkulu said.
Also speaking to the Daily News on Monday, Oktay Vural, parliamentary group deputy head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said: "The state talks with this killer (Abdullah Öcalan, convicted leader of the PKK) within the purview of the prime minister. Therefore, this process develops in a controlled way."
The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. It declared the cease-fire on Aug. 13, then extended it in November until the general elections, expected to be held in June.
ERDOGAN: NO ROLE FOR NATO IN LIBYA
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan commented on possibility of NATO's intervention in Libya and said that it is nonsense. Erdoğan said that NATO had nothing to do in Libya. "NATO's intervention in Libya is out of the question," Erdoğan said in a speech delivered at a meeting organized by the Turkish-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hanover.
DAVUTOGLU: EVACUATIONS FROM LIBYA COMPLETED, IT IS NOW TIME FOR HUMANITARIAN AID
Turkey has brought 18,375 people from Libya to Turkey in the biggest evacuation operation ever witnessed in the history of the Republic of Turkey. Some 1,091 of those brought to Turkey were foreign nationals. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said that there were no Turks remaining in the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. In the second stage, Turkey will provide humanitarian assistance to Libya, Davutoğlu said.
'QUIT PLAYING GAMES WITH TURKEY,' TURKISH PM LASHES OUT AT EU
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan severely criticized the European Union during a visit to Germany, urging the EU to clarify its true intentions over Turkey's membership bid. "I love to speak frankly. If you do not want Turkey, stand up and say it. I'd accept that," Erdoğan said. The Turkish prime minister also criticized the EU's visa program on Turkish nationals. "You are exempting Bolivia and Paraguay from visa [requirements] and you are forcing Schengen on Turkey, which is inside the European community for more than 50 years," he told Turkish and German businesspeople.
ERBAKAN'S MISSION TO OUTLIVE TURKISH POLITICAL ICON
In the last month of his life, Felicity Party leader Necmettin Erbakan sought from his hospital bed to create an election alliance, uniting parties in order to pass the 10 percent threshold for parliamentary representation.
Following his death Sunday, that effort will continue, the deputy leaders of the Democrat Party (DP) and the Turkey Party (TP), told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.
"The reason why Erbakan came back as leader of the Felicity Party [SP] at the age of 84 was to create an alliance against the [ruling] administration in Turkey, with which he was displeased," said TP deputy leader Abdulkadir Sarı, confirming that a summit was held Friday between the SP, the TP and the Great Union Party (BBP). The parties decided at that meeting that the principles of the alliance would be outlined in a second summit in March.
"We are therefore continuing [Erbakan's] alliance plan, which includes the TP. We will present the people with an alternative," Sarı told the Daily News, adding that the SP sees its late leader's search for an alliance as his final "will."
The SP will meanwhile hold a convention in 45 days in order to select its new leader. The top candidate to replace Erbakan is, for now, his son Fatih Erbakan. Born in 1979, the younger Erbakan had been being groomed by his father for the leadership post.
"The National View movement will continue down the path he created," Fatih Erbakan said Sunday, referring to the Islamist doctrine his father pioneered. His statement marked the first indication that he could be a candidate for the SP leadership.
While it is a concern that Fatih Erbakan has not completed his military service, it does not legally prevent him from becoming party leader. A more experienced candidate could fill in if he chooses to wait a while before becoming leader.
Election alliance plans
As part of his master plan for a political alliance, Erbakan met with DP leader Namık Kemal Zeybek, TP leader Abdüllatif Şener, former Prime Minister Tansu Çiller, BBP leader Yalçın Topçu and former Labor Minister Yaşar Okuyan, among other figures.
His plan was to get the National View party into parliament under the umbrella of the Felicity Party, something he had previously succeeded in doing in 1991 as leader of the Welfare Party, forming an alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Nation Party (MP). The 1991 alliance resulted in an unexpected achievement for Erbakan: passing the 10 percent threshold and gaining 62 seats in Parliament.
The DP's Zeybek and the TP's Şener both responded positively to their meetings with Erbakan, making pro-alliance statements to the press. The late party leader also met with the Homeland Party (YP) and the Rights and Equality Party (HEP).
Deputy DP leader Osman Çilsal told the Daily News they had an appointment scheduled with Erbakan for Feb. 28, the day after he died. Çilsal confirmed that the DP wants to continue with alliance talks that include the BBP.
DP leader Zeybek also confirmed to journalists that the alliance plans would continue, adding that he shared the same views as Erbakan when it came to politics.
Speaking to CNNTürk, Okuyan said the alliance was Erbakan's heritage, and that it is his hope that it would be created under the roof of the Felicity Party.