Advisor to the Fatih and Eyup Municipalities, known as conservative and belongs to AKP, Sibel Uresin told that polygamy must be legalized to prevent some unwanted mistress relations. She said, "in that way women can be protected and live her life freely".



With less than three weeks to go until general elections, Turkey's ruling and main opposition parties seem to have traded places on the Kurdish issue. As the social democrats break the ice with the country's Kurds, the governing party appears increasingly cool toward them.

The change in the positions of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and the main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, was clear during the election rallies their leaders held over the weekend in Southeast Anatolia, where the majority of the population is of Kurdish descent.

In previous elections, the AKP won the sympathy and votes of many Kurds by launching an initiative to solve the longstanding Kurdish question. But in a move to attract the votes of nationalists, the party has shifted ahead of the June 12 polls, with the prime minister saying, "There is no Kurdish issue but problems of Kurdish people."

The CHP, shunned by nearly all Kurds over the last decade because of its policies of denying their concerns, has meanwhile enjoyed a boost from its new leader's bolder rhetoric on the issue.

Far bigger crowds turned out to see CHP chief Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's rallies in Van and Hakkari on Monday than they had two days earlier when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited the same cities. Only around 1,000 people came to listen to Erdoğan in Hakkari on Saturday, while shopkeepers closed their doors and some groups protested the prime minister's visit.

Erdoğan claimed on Monday that the Hakkari shopkeepers were forced to close up their shops in an act of protest, implying that the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, was behind the action.

"This is not about shopkeepers closing up shop; it is about them being forced to close up shop," the prime minister said, speaking at a meeting with businessmen in Ankara. "How can they [the BDP] talk about peace and democracy, but prevent people from earning a living?"

He said the protest was being enforced to create fear, and that the region did not really support the protest.

"We need to stand strong together in our resistance, because cowards die many times before their deaths, and we must thus get results together," Erdoğan said.

The prime minister also criticized Hakkari Mayor Fadıl Bedirhanoğlu for allegedly urging locals to shutters their shops in protest, and even fining those who did not. In response, Bedirhanoğlu called on Erdoğan to prove his "slanderous" claims or be faced with a lawsuit.

"These claims are a huge lie. If the prime minister does not prove this, I will declare him a slanderer, and file a lawsuit if necessary," Bedirhanoğlu said on Monday.

Erdoğan also questioned the Hakkari Municipality in his comments, asking what had happened to the 13 billion Turkish Liras sent to Hakkari, and criticizing the municipality for not operating well.

Warm messages from the CHP

Kılıçdaroğlu received a warm welcome in both Van and Hakkari, where he gave three important messages to Kurdish voters. In Hakkari, he said his party would boost rights for local governance through embracing the Council of Europe's charter. "We will accept the local self-government charter. Thus we will help them [local governments] to strengthen, to have a good budget and to stop them asking for more money from Ankara," he said.

His second message was a pledge to reduce the 10% election threshold for parliamentary representation, while his third promise was to establish a fact-finding commission to investigate the unresolved murders in the region.

Kılıçdaroğlu also touched on an ongoing case in which dozens of elected mayors have been arrested. Criticizing the government's conduct in the case, he said: "You will put all of them in jail. This means limiting the people's will and not respecting it."

Slamming Erdoğan's critical statements about the closure of shops during his rally Saturday, Kılıçdaroğlu said: "Instead of criticizing the mayor, you should better deal with the problems of these shopkeepers if you are the prime minister."

Bahçeli critical of the developments

The head of Turkey's nationalist opposition party meanwhile criticized the government for not doing enough to stop violent protests in the Southeast and in Istanbul.

"The state is not doing enough," Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, leader Devlet Bahçeli said in the central province of Afyonkarahisar on Monday. "The prime minister is now saying that stores in Hakkari were forced to close. He's cooperating with the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party], but is blaming their terrorists."

Even though the district governor and the mayor all assured Erdoğan's safety, the BDP and the PKK were able to exercise much power over Hakkari, the MHP chief claimed. "Such a scandal has not happened anywhere else," Bahçeli said.



Turkish President Abdullah Gül received Libyan National Transitional Council Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil in the Turkish capital Ankara. Gül said there was no place for Gaddafi administration in Libya any more and the new administration should embrace all Libyans. Jalil said the day, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Gaddafi to quit the administration; Libyans decorated the whole country with Turkish flags.



Top Turkish officials met Monday with the head of the Libya's National Transitional Council, or NTC, in what was seen as a signal of possible recognition of the rebels by Ankara.

NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President Abdullah Gül and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to discuss the transitional process in the turmoil-hit country and the humanitarian aid needed by Libyans.

"We see the NTC as the legitimate and respected representative of the Libyan people. We will continue our talks with all relevant parties," Davutoğlu told reporters at a joint press conference with Abdul-Jalil.

"What is important for us is to accomplish the transition process peacefully and to meet the demands of the people," he added.

Hakan Fidan, the undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization, or MİT, was also present at the meeting between Davutoğlu and Abdul-Jalil.

The NTC chairman's reception by Gül and Erdoğan on his first visit to Turkey appeared to be a clear show of Ankara's support for the council. The visit came on the same day the European Union opened a representative office in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Turkey already has a representative in the Libyan city.

Outlining the pillars of Turkey's policy on Libya, Davutoğlu said that preserving the country's territorial integrity and political unity was a priority. "For this, we have used all possible diplomatic ways, openly and secretly. We will continue to do so," he said.

Criticizing Col. Moammar Gadhafi's administration for attacking its own people, Davutoğlu said Turkey would continue to work for a peaceful transition in Libya through its road map.

Abdul-Jalil's visit marks the highest-level contact to date between Turkey and the Libyan rebels following Ankara's initial reluctance to back military action in the conflict-torn North African country. Turkey has proposed a "road map" to end the Libyan turmoil, urging an immediate cease-fire, the lifting of sieges by regime forces of rebel-held towns and the initiation of a "transformation process" that would lead to free elections.

"We support the road map created by our Turkish brothers and sisters. We support this plan that symbolizes and solidifies the needs of the Libyan people, including removing Gadhafi from the country," Abdul-Jalil said.

Praising the historical ties between the two countries and the important role Turkish figures Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Enver Pasha played for Libya, Abdul-Jalil said: "We have understood Turkey's stance from the beginning. They do not want bloodshed to continue. Libya awaits Turkey's support."

Turkey severed ties with the Gadhafi administration in early May after it closed its embassy in Tripoli and Erdoğan urged the Libyan leader to "immediately" cede power and leave the country.

Extending humanitarian aid

Another key issue discussed in Ankara was the Turkish government's possible humanitarian aid to the Libyan people.

"We have discussed the humanitarian situation in Libya, as well. In particular, the situation of the refugees in Tunisia, the [lack of] hospitals and other infrastructure," Davutoğlu said. "Turkey will do its best to provide assistance to Libya. In this framework we'll continue to work together [with the NTC]."

Abdul-Jalil was also seeking financial assistance in the NTC's struggles against the Gadhafi regime.



The local leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, and his executive committee members have decided to continue their political careers in the country's main pro-Kurdish party.

The MHP's local leader in the Başkale district of the eastern province of Van, Ömer Bozkurt, and all 16 members of the local executive board submitted their resignations to the District Election Board on Monday. The group later visited the election office of Kemal Aktaş, an independent candidate supported by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP.

Speaking at the election office, Bozkurt, whose surname mans "Grey Wolf" – an almost sacred icon for Turkish nationalists – said they wanted to be "hand-in-hand with the people instead of with the parties of the system."

"All people in the east and southeast who are members of other parties should immediately resign and join their own party: the BDP," Bozkurt said.

The former MHP member was later presented with a BDP badge by the pro-Kurdish party's local branch head, Derviş Polat.

Independent candidate Aktaş said he was very happy to see Bozkurt as a member of the BDP.



Republican People's Party, CHP, chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was in the eastern provinces of Van and Bitlis, and the southeastern province of Hakkari yesterday. Shops in Hakkari, which had been closed down during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's recent rally in the city, were open while Kılıçdaroğlu addressed citizens. Pointing out the 10% electoral threshold in Turkey, Kılıçdaroğlu said, "If the store's shutters of stores are closed, we should examine the reasons of this act instead of looking at those staging such act." CHP leader also said his party would accept autonomy of local administrations once it came to power.


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