ERDOGAN CRITICIZES MEDIA FOR TERRORIST PROPOGANDA
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the Turkish media for promoting terrorist activities by reflecting details of terrorist attacks, in his speech on Thursday at an election meeting in the southern province of Osmaniye.
"I have a question for printed and visual media: Are you aware that you are supporting terrorism one way or another in your TV programs? Are you aware that while trying to expose them you are propagating terrorism? Are you aware that you reinforce propaganda about many other things when you say you will find out about their political organizations?" Erdogan said in his speech Thursday, one day after a policeman lost his life in an attack on the prime minister's convoy in Kastamonu.
The prime minister's convoy was attacked late Wednesday in Kastamonu after he departed from the Black Sea city by helicopter, leaving one police officer dead and another injured. The assailants threw explosives at the party bus and then opened fire, escaping after an exchange of gunfire. Security forces have launched an operation in the forested area surrounding the crime scene to catch the perpetrators.
"Do you not see the photos of their parliamentarians standing next to terrorists with masks on their faces and Molotov cocktails in their hands? And you look and see their mayors are distributing Molotov cocktails to youngsters," he said referring to members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP. "They are caught and are in prison now. Is there any need to explain all this? The district party chairmen [caiught] like this, the provincial chairmen [caught] like this, the parliamentarians [caught] like this," Erdoğan said, adding that everything was clear, according to a CNN Türk television channel report Thursday evening.
"Then they are asking for their rights and freedoms. I am sorry, but this is not the way to ask for rights and freedoms."
PRO-KURDISH GROUP MAY BOYCOTT TURKEY'S JUNE 12 ELECTIONS
A potential boycott of the June 12 general election was on the agenda of a major pro-Kurdish umbrella organization when it met Thursday in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, according to the pro-Kurdish Fırat News Agency.
"Kurds have issued their verdict; the solution will come about independently of the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party]. The Kurds' patience and tolerance have run out," Aysel Tuğluk, the deputy chairwoman of the Democratic Society Congress, or DTK, said at the meeting, the Anatolia news agency reported.
"Our people are sufficiently organized to establish their own democracy and to live in that system, if things do not work out with the state. This lack of status [for the Kurds] cannot stand," she said.
The meeting organized by the DTK, an umbrella organization of pro-Kurdish figures and groups, drew 800 delegates to Diyarbakır to evaluate the group's stance in regards to recent developments, including the possibility of an election boycott, according to Fırat. The news agency is sympathetic to the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, and often carries announcements from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
Topics discussed at the meeting included the recent raids on "democratic solution tents" set up by the DTK, the short-lived decision by the Supreme Election Board, or YSK, to veto some independent candidates supported by the BDP and security forces' crackdowns on protesters.
Commenting on the possibility of a DTK boycott, a Diyarbakır deputy candidate from the AKP said the BDP should "definitely be" in the Parliament and that a decision to boycott the election would not be proper. "There is no alternative for a solution other than politics. If they do not enter the Parliament, non-political alternatives should be discussed, yet that won't bring a solution to the issue," Galip Ensarioğlu, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Thursday.
"A calamity is just around the corner. I am not pessimistic. I only possess the sensibility that emanates from intuition and foresight," Tuğluk, who is also an independent candidate from the eastern province of Van, said at the meeting.
"President Abdullah Gül had said that good things were about to happen. So much time has passed by, to no avail. Once again we are at a crossroads," she said. "I dare not say it but must voice my feeling that bad things are about to happen. Everyone concerned about the Kurdish issue would know that we are moving toward ground zero, and fast."
It is important to urge the Turkish people to understand the Kurds correctly, Tuğluk said, further claiming that Kurdish children were being slaughtered upon harsh commands from the state. She said some people were scratching bleeding wounds at a time when dialogue was evolving into negotiations and when peace was very near at hand; she was referring to the contacts between state officials and Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed PKK. The group has been designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
"There is no telling" whether things will happen "as in Egypt or Syria," Tuğluk said, but insisted that "a status [for the Kurds] will be won, and it will be defended at all costs," the Anatolia news agency reported.
"We are in limbo, and responsibility belongs to the state and the prime minister. If we end up in heaven, we will live there together, and if we end up in hell, then we will burn together," she said, adding that she had wished to speak about hopeful portents about peace, but had been forced by events to speak of anxiety, strife and death.
According to the Fırat news agency, an estimated 1,000 people have been taken into custody and two civilians have died in clashes with police, while hundreds were injured, since the YSK issued its directive April 18 to veto independent BDP candidates. The board reversed the decision three days later, on April 21.
"A ridiculous decision is made to obstruct democratic representation. The militaristic institution called the Turkish Army launches operations against the dormant guerilla force with overwhelming force and technical capability, and takes seven lives in Dersim. You all know that when the pain and anger of this city keeps mounting, it knows no boundaries," Tuğluk said in Diyarbakır, accusing the AKP of taking a hostile and statist stance against the Kurdish issue and claiming the YSK is an ideological institution
"I would like to remind the prime minister of one truth before your presence and the media: Denial breeds revolt, Mr. Prime Minister," she said.
"The time is now for building the democratic autonomy solution with [our] own will and organization," Tuğluk added, praising the solution offered by imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as being responsible, forward-looking, confidence-inspiring and unselfish.
TENSIONS HIGH AFTER TERRORIST ATTACK ON PREMIER CONVOY
Tensions heightened after the PKKclaimed responsibility for an attack Wednesday on a police vehicle that had escorting the Turkish premier's election convoy; the attack killed an officer in the northern province of Kastamonu. Democratic Society Congress (DTK) convened in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir to assess the situation. "The president said 'good things will happen.' But he turned out to be wrong. I do not want to utter it but there will be bad things. We are moving towards the zero point in the Kurdish issue," DTK co-chairperson Aysel Tugluk said.
PKK WALKIE TALKIE
Hurriyet reached the walkie talkie conversations between PKK terrorists following their attack on the convoy escorting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's team in northern province of Kastamonu. In their conversations, the terrorists code-named Roj, Zeynel, Dicle, Munzur and Zafer say, "the attack in Kastamonu was launched by friends. An operation is under way in Ilgaz Mountain, friends should be careful. It was really a good attack. Anyway, the only target is now Justice & Development (AK) Party."
ATTACK ORDER COMES FROM QANDIL
It was revealed that the group that killed a police officer in the ambush on Prime Ministry convoy near Ilgaz Mountain gave a report to PKK leaders by walkie talkie. Special teams, which followed the leads carefully after the attack, found that the weapons and bullets, which were used in the attack, belonged to PKK terrorists. Intelligence units said that the attack order was given by Sofi Nurettin from Murat Karayilan's team in Qandil mountain with a code in walkie talkie "set up a big fire in Ilgaz". PKK terrorists code-named Munzur and Zerzan escaped to a forested area after the attack, and they told their leaders "we have completed the attack" through walkie talkies.
ERDOGAN SLAMS BDP IN ELECTION RALLY
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday lashed out at the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) which supports independent candidates from Turkey's southeast in the upcoming general elections in June. "You don't get to speak about democracy if you are killing people. It is the bandits' way to come to power by killing. Haven't you seen the pictures showing MPs standing side by side with terrorists wearing balaclavas, brandishing molotov cocktails," Erdogan told an election rally in the southern province of Osmaniye. Erdogan's remarks came two days after a police officer was killed and another was wounded when their vehicle escorting the premier's election convoy came under gunfire after a rally in the northern province of Kastamonu. Erdogan had earlier left Kastamonu by helicopter.
TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS US STATE SECRETARY
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Rome on Thursday.
ROME- Davutoglu is currently in Rome, Italy to attend the meeting of Libya Contact Group.
Diplomatic sources said that the two leaders discussed recent regional developments especially Libya issue.
During the meeting, Clinton said that they supported the road map prepared by Turkey, and wanted to ensure close cooperation on the issue.
Meanwhile, Davutoglu briefed Clinton about the agreement signed between Hamas and Fatah groups yesterday. He repeated his call of international support for the agreement, and asked for the contribution of the United States.
U.S. AMBASSADOR SAYS NEED FOR OVERSEAS MILITARY BASES WILL DECLINE IN FUTURE
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis J. Ricciardone said Thursday that the need for overseas U.S. military bases in the future would not be as high as in the past.
IZMIR- Ricciardone made a speech on U.S.-Turkish relations at the Chamber of Commerce in the Aegean province of Izmir and said relations between the two countries, as well as cooperation and struggle against challenges, have become more important in recent years.
Ricciardone said the U.S. goal was to renew the alliance between the two countries and friendship between the two nations.
On a question about U.S. military bases, Ricciardone said there were new challenges such as fanaticism and terrorism after the end of Cold War. He said Turkey and United States had always stood together against common threats, however he added that recently the struggle against these threats had not been carried out only by military means.
Turkey and United States keep the military cooperation going, the U.S. diplomat said, however he added that the need for overseas military bases in the coming period would not be as high as in the past.
Ricciardone said that a U.S. physical presence was not needed in Turkey as Turkey, a NATO ally, had its own military capabilities and the two countries had a great partnership.
ATTEMPTS TO CONTROL INTERNET ACCESS FOLLOWS CALL BY GULEN
Plans to introduce state-controlled filtering on access to the Internet in Turkey has drawn harsh criticisms as the attempt followed similar calls made by Fethullah Gulen, head of the Gulen community. Gulen has been recently giving sermons complaining about lack of binding laws. "Access to harmful sites on the Internet must be stopped," he says in one of his sermons.
SARKOZY INSTRUCTED HIS PARTY TO HAMPER ARMENIAN BILL, TURKISH OFFICIAL SAYS
A potential extra hurdle between Turkish-French relations was removed when the French president strongly supported the rejection of a bill that would have made it a punishable offense to deny "Armenian genocide" claims, a Turkish official said Thursday
"Turkish leaders and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy have made a deal to underline common interests rather than disagreements in bilateral relations. Thus, the French president has given instructions to his party members to restrain bills such as the recent Armenian initiative," Yaşar Yakış, deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP], who traveled to France prior to the vote, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Thursday.
The upper house of the French parliament on Wednesday failed to approve a bill penalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide claims. The senate voted 196 to 74 to block a formal debate on the issue. The bill, which was drafted by lawmakers from the opposition Socialist Party, was adopted by the French lower house, the National Assembly, in 2006 amid protests from Ankara.
Yakış recently traveled to France to lobby against the bill with a delegation consisting of representatives specializing in foreign politics from political parties in Parliament. The lobbying activities of the Turkish delegation took affect along with Sarkozy's instructions, he said, adding this incident could pave the way to open a new page in Turkish-French bilateral relations, which faces ups and downs.
It is unlikely that the French Senate will take a similar bill to the agenda "unless a crucial breakdown destroys bilateral relations," Yakış said. "If the bill were rejected with a minor difference in the Senate, then Armenians could attempt to bring the issue to the agenda, yet that has low possibility now," he added.
French Minister of Justice Michel Mercier on Wednesday said there was opposition to a law penalizing Armenian genocide claims, yet he revived a circular that could be issued addressing all chief prosecutors in order to monitor discrimination against the Armenian society. He stressed that the circular could be an alternative to the failed bill that would have made denying the Ottoman-era genocide claims punishable.
"The bill has not been drafted yet. But it will come into force due to a current French law, which punishes any incitement to discrimination, hatred or racial violence," an official from French Embassy told the Daily News on Thursday. The official said there was no legal base in French law to condemn denial of Armenian genocide claims.