Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay has said that the government is treating with concern statements made by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BPD) over the past few days and the BDP's determination to go ahead with planned rallies in several provinces.
Atalay's statement comes following unrest in the Kurdish-dominated parts of the country that sparked after Friday, when a protester was killed in a demonstration against the construction of a security outpost in Diyarbakır's Lice district.
The BDP has long criticized the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government over the alleged continuation of security station constructions in the Kurdish-dominated areas of the country. The BDP has been saying that the constructions might hurt Turkey's ongoing settlement process which began with negotiations between Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and state officials last year and turned into a cease-fire in March when Öcalan ordered PKK militants to leave Turkish territory. The BDP has been claiming that most PKK militants have left Turkish soil and the government now has to take steps to fulfill its part of the negotiations, such as the release of Öcalan and the right for Turkey's Kurds to be educated in their mother tongue.
As part of its expectations, the BDP is organizing a “Government, take a step” rally in Van on Tuesday. The BDP said on Monday that the priority demand of their party is freedom for Öcalan. The party will also hold rallies at several other locations, including Mersin and Adana, until July 6.
Atalay said during a meeting in Kırıkkale province on Monday that the government was deeply sorry over the death in Lice. “We have sent a team of investigators to shed light on what really happened. We want the incident to be investigated. If somebody did something wrong, the necessary legal action will be taken.” However, he said that the violent demonstrations and the abduction of a sergeant by the PKK hours after the Lice incident could hurt Turkey's ongoing settlement process.
“We are doing what we should do, step by step, and our meetings with the BDP are ongoing. But people conducting the settlement process should act with care. We, the government, are sincere.”
On Sunday, the Diyarbakır Governor's Office said that the real purpose of the protests in Diyarbakır had nothing to do with military outpost constructions but to express frustration over recent operations on illegal narcotics in the region. A human rights group and a BDP deputy released statements on Monday slamming the statement. The BDP's Altan Tan said that the statement didn't make sense while the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUM-DER) said that the statement indicated that the government will try to cover up those responsible for the death in Lice.
Tensions in Diyarbakır remained high on Sunday. Police had to fire tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands of protesters during a BDP demonstration to pressure the government to carry out reforms.
The Diyarbakır unrest comes after weeks of unrelated anti-government protests in İstanbul, Ankara and other cities in which four have died and thousands have been injured. Around 3,000 protesters, including BDP politicians, gathered in the center of Diyarbakır on Sunday evening but the crowds were prevented from marching through the city by riot police.
Also on Sunday, a few hundred protesters clashed with police further east in the Cizre district of Şırnak province, which borders both Syria and Iraq. The protesters burned tires and closed a main road while some threw fire bombs at the police who also responded with water cannons and tear gas. Separate protests in the city of Mersin on the eastern Mediterranean coast passed off peacefully.
On Sunday, a group of 200 people from the Taksim Solidarity Platform, which played an active role in the 20-day anti-government protests last month that began in Gezi Park, made a press statement in İstanbul. Mücella Yapıcı, a spokesperson for the group and a representative of the Chamber of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB), said: “The violence doesn't end. It is ongoing in Diyarbakır, in Ankara. A citizen died in Lice. ‘Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is Lice, and everywhere is Diyarbakır.' Our struggle will continue.” The protestors submitted a petition to the İstanbul Prosecutor's Office after their statement in which they claimed the entire “moral, political, historic and legal responsibility” for the Gezi park protests.
CihanGüncelleme Tarihi: 02 Temmuz 2013, 09:57