Erdogan criticizes Turkish academics' massacre claims

President says PKK is responsible for violating human rights in southeast Turkey

Erdogan criticizes Turkish academics' massacre claims



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday criticized academics accusing the government of carrying out a massacre in the country’s southeast.

“Today, Turkey’s issue is a terror issue with which many countries in the world are fed up, it is not Kurdish issue,” he said in a speech to Turkish ambassadors at the presidential palace in Ankara.

Erdogan’s remarks came a day after around 1,100 figures dubbing themselves the Group of Academics for Peace issued a manifesto on the military’s operations against PKK terrorists and accused the state of violating human rights and “causing a massacre”.

Referring to the “so-called intellectuals”, Erdogan said: “You are not intellectuals. You are so dark and ignorant as to know neither southeast nor east but we know there like the way and the address to our home.”

Erdogan said the PKK had violated the human rights of millions of people in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast.

“The rights and freedoms of our millions of citizens living in the region are breached due to acts of the terror organization,” he said before going on to cite the building of barricades and planting of bombs as impeding residents’ lives.

“It is the terror organization that makes life miserable for citizens by setting fire to schools, hospitals, mosques, libraries, homes and workplaces and opening fire on ambulances and fire trucks,” he added.

“It is again the terror organization that breaches rights and freedom of our citizens by holing the walls of homes and opening tunnels from people’s bedrooms. Despite these realities, a group calling themselves 'academicians' is releasing manifesto and accusing the state.

“Besides that, they also invite foreigners to our country to follow the developments. Its name is colonial mindset, its name is mandate.”

The president invited the foreign academics in Turkey to view evidence about events in Turkey’s east and southeast.

The PKK - considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU - resumed its 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state in late July.

Turning to the Fetullah Gulen’s Hizmet movement, which the government refers to as the “parallel state”, Erdogan said assets such as schools and businesses held by the movement should be passed to the state.

“Schools run by the parallel state and commercial relations developed by it are not its property,” he said. “All of them are established with this country and means of this nation. It is by alms, benefaction or aid.

“Therefore, instead of eradicating them, we should make effort to gain them to the country and the nation, which are the real owner of them. I particularly want our government and National Education Ministry to prioritize this issue.”

U.S.-based Gulen’s group is said to have infiltrated Turkey’s institutions, particularly the judiciary and the police, in a bid to unseat the government. It has a wide educational network in Turkey and around the world.

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