03/17/2016, 16.48
TURKEY
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Kurdish radicals claim Ankara attack, but Erdogan blames pacifist Demirtas

by Sami Osman

The 13 March attack was claimed by TAK (Kurdistan Freedom Falcons). "Revenge" for 300 Kurds killed in Cizre in security force operations.  Kurdish lawyers and university students detained. Erdogan asks parliament to drop  'immunity of five Kurdish deputies, "accomplices" of terrorism.

 

Ankara (AsiaNews) - The radical Kurdish group, the “Kurdistan Freedom Falcons " (TAK), has claimed responsibility for the car bomb suicide attack in Ankara last week that left 35 dead. In a statement published on their website, they state that "on the evening of March 13, a suicide attack was carried out... in the streets of the capital of the fascist Turkish republic". The group said that it is a response to the Turkish army security operations in the southeastern part of the country, inhabited by a Kurdish majority.

In February, the Turkish forces concluded a military offensive in that area with door to door searches, gunfire, arrests and curfews, mostly concentrated in the town of Cizre. The TAK statement said that it wanted to avenge "the 300 Kurds killed in Cizre as well as our civilian casualties".
The TAK has ties to the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, considered a terrorist organization, which in the 1980s and 1990s fought against the military regime for the independence of the Kurdish zone from Ankara.
Because of this link, immediately after the attack in Ankara, the Turkish authorities accused the PKK and launched air raids on its bases in northern Iraq.

However, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided to launch an offensive against the Kurds that have renounced armed struggle with great effort and sought a political representation in the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), led by Selahattin Demirtas. The HDP gained 13% of the vote in the last election, robbing Erdogan's party, the AKP, of an absolute majority in parliament.

Yesterday Erdogan accused politicians, journalists and intellectuals of being "accomplices" of PKK terrorism. He has asked parliament to "quickly" remove the immunity of five HDP deputies for engaging in "propaganda" in favor of the PKK. These include Demirtas, who had asked for a form of "autonomy" for the 15 million Kurds in Turkey.

Erdogan maintains that "terrorists do not only use the weapons, but also the pen".

After the attack, the police have carried out a series of arrests of pro-Kurdish groups. Yesterday at dawn eight lawyers were detained in Istanbul. The day before, three college students, signatories of a "petition for peace", which denounced the massacres of civilians during operations against the PKK by the security forces were arrested.

An opposition MP, Özgür Özel, OF the Republican People's Party, CHP, said: "It is disturbing to see the president acting as someone who gives orders to parliament".

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