Tuesday, July 10, 2007


News Diplomacy
Southeast mayor says Kurds, PKK supporting each other
The mayor of the southeastern city of Şırnak, located on the Iraqi border, was seen praising the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been waging a campaign against Turkey for over two decades, speaking to the France-24 news channel in a Friday interview during the weekly "Reporters" show. Şırnak Mayor Ahmet Ertak, speaking to France-24 in Kurdish said: "The PKK supports the Kurdish people. And we support the PKK. The PKK should be supported." Ertak continued: "We will go until the very end for democracy, justice and our cause. I am addressing Turkish authorities: We will respect you as long as you respect us and our culture. If the Turkish army stops operations, the PKK will lay down arms."
Ertak was voted mayor as a candidate of the Social Democrat People's Party (SHP) in the local elections in March 2004.
Footage featuring images of Turkish security forces was shown during the interview and the show also claimed that 20 million Kurds were looking for freedom in Turkey, and that the Turkish army was a state within a state. The program added that the Turkish military was not in reality pursuing an incursion to northern Iraq to root out the guerilla based there, but that such expressions were a "policy based on forestalling the Islamists in power."
Earlier the pro-Kurdish TV channel Roj TV, which broadcasts from Denmark, showed an interview with Kurdish leaders, including Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir, who referred to the PKK as "armed Kurdish opposition." Baydemir was speaking as a studio guest for a political program on Roj along with former deputy of the now banned pro-Kurdish Democracy Party (DEP) Hatip Dicle, former Human Rights Association (İHD) President Yusuf Alataş and academic Cengiz Güleç.
Former DEP deputy Dicle expressed his opinion that this year's independent deputies from the Democratic Society Party (DTP), a continuation of the DEP, would emphasize "peace" as their first word in Parliament. The participants expressed concern about increasingly nationalist and populist calls from political parties emphasizing hostility to different ethnic identities.
Speaking about recent developments and Turkey's threats of a military incursion into northern Iraq, Diyarbakır Mayor Baydemir said two major developments had taken place in Turkey after 1999. Referring to the PKK, he said: "The armed Kurdish opposition changed its strategy and removed weapons from its methods, and its militants to outside Turkey. This is a milestone of a process. It was with the ground this laid that Turkey was included in the European Union process." Baydemir also expressed concern that Turkey's citizens were experiencing a lack of confidence in each other. Turkey has long staged efforts to get Denmark to ban Roj TV.
France-24 is a French government-funded global 24-hour satellite and cable TV news, based in Paris.
10.07.2007 Today's Zaman İstanbul


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