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Turkey to extend state of emergency for sixth time

- TurkeyPolReu - Turkey to extend state of emergency for sixth time


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Ankara will extend a state of emergency, in place since the July 2016 coup attempt, for another three months, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday.

In a press conference following a cabinet meeting, Bozdag said the National Security Council (MGK), headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and army generals, would discuss the matter during its first meeting of the new year.

Then, Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is expected to propose a motion for the extension at the Parliament.

Lawmakers from the AKP and its far-right ally in the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have supported previous extensions.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who view Erdogan as an increasingly authoritarian leader, have opposed the emergency rule.

HDP Spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen told reporters in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir that Turkey was either to “choose the state of emergency or democracy.”

“Turkey is about to lose its claim to being a democracy,” Bilgen said, adding that a significant portion of the state was a victim of the nation-wide rule.

The Erdogan government’s main argument for the state of emergency is its fight with the US-based Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement which it accuses of masterminding the botched coup via followers within the army.

Ankara also cites its security concerns regarding the decades-long guerrilla warfare by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for a form of self-governance in the Kurdish-majority provinces to the east and south.

Under a state of emergency, the President, empowered by a constitutional reform package narrowly approved by voters in a referendum last April, can bypass the Parliament in enacting new decrees.

The decrees have since last year purged over 100,000 civil servants and ordered the closure of hundreds of media outlets, NGOs, cultural centers, private schools, and hospitals over allegations of having ties to “terrorist” groups detrimental to national security.

There are also over 160 journalists, and media workers behind bars as co-leader of the HDP Selahattin Demirtas remains jailed along with nine other lawmakers from his party.

The Council of Europe (CoE), and international rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have previously called on Ankara to end the state of emergency, citing grave rights violations, including allegations of torture in prisons and abuses of state power by officials.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany



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kurdistan

Turkish President vows to crush any Kurdish protest against Afrin invasion

- TurkisStrikeK24 - Turkish President vows to crush any Kurdish protest against Afrin invasion


HDP’s Co-leader Serpil Kemalbay did not call for an uprising but urged “the people of Turkey not to remain silent to this invasion” which she said Erdogan launched to consolidate his rule.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), however, urged “support for the resistance of Afrin.”

Erdogan equated the opposition HDP which his administration has paralyzed with an ongoing crackdown launched in late 2016 with the PKK—outlawed for waging decades-long guerrilla warfare against the Turkish state over Kurdish self-rule.

With a nation-wide state of emergency in place since a failed military coup a year and a half ago and more powers granted to the judiciary and the national police force, authorities have already banned walks, demonstrations, and public meetings in all provinces.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Ankara launched investigations against HDP lawmakers Ayhan Bilgen and Nadir Yildirim for tweets criticizing Turkey’s offensive in Afrin.

“An operation targeting Afrin, if successful, will drag the country into civil war, and if unsuccessful will create the ground for a coup,” Bilgen tweeted a week ago amid rising threats from Ankara.

“An attempt to invade Afrin means a total war on the Kurdish people. Staying silent to this is dishonorable. Our honorable people in all four parts of Kurdistan will give the necessary response. Today is the day to mobilize,” Yildirim said in a tweet after attacks on Afrin began.

“Mind you, anyone making the mistake of getting out on to public squares will pay the heaviest price. I have to tell you because this is a national struggle. We will pulverize anyone standing in front of us,” Erdogan said, promising a swift victory.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany 



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Barzani and Kosrat Rasoul Meet in Erbil


Barzani and Kosrat Rasoul Meet in Erbil  - 66d399e9ab8adc124c65ca4320e22b6f L - Barzani and Kosrat Rasoul Meet in Erbil

ERBIL — Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani on Sunday met with Kosrat Rasoul, deputy secretary-general for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

The meeting comes after Rasoul had spend weeks in Germany under medical treatment before he came back earlier this month.

The pair exchanged views on the current political situation in Iraq and the region.

No further details on their discussion were revealed to the media.



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Iran latest to condemn Turkish military campaign against Kurds in Afrin

- AfrinTurkey - Iran latest to condemn Turkish military campaign against Kurds in Afrin


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iran on Sunday called on the Turkish government to halt its military campaign against Kurdish forces in the Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) city of Afrin, noting the operation could “help terrorist groups.”

“Iran hopes this process will end immediately to prevent the deepening of the crisis in the border area between Turkey and Syria,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bahram Qasimi was quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency.

On Saturday, the Turkish army stepped up its military incursion against Kurds in the northern Syrian region of Afrin, wounding at least five civilians following bombardments on the outskirts of the city.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the campaign, called “Operation Olive Branch,” was aimed at the People’s Protection Units (YPG) who his country labels “terrorists” for their alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The YPG, who make up a significant majority of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), was an integral part of the war against the Islamic State (IS).

Turkey’s military plans seem to have been accelerated by an announcement from the US that it will help the SDF build a new “border security force” to prevent the return of IS.

The YPG and SDF deny any terrorist links, a claim backed by the US government. However, Turkey’s President Erdogan called the border force a “terror army.”

Meanwhile, the Kurdish forces vowed to defend any attacks on the areas under their control.

“If attacked, we will have no choice but to defend ourselves and our people, but we state in front of the world that we harbor no hostile intent toward Turkey and would only take measures in our own defense in the event of hostile operations against our people,” an SDF statement read.



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