Turkey, Politics

Erdogan slams Demirtas' autonomy call as 'betrayal'

'How dare you talk about establishing a state in the southeast and the east within Turkey’s unitary structure?' Turkish president asks opposition leader

Erdogan slams Demirtas' autonomy call as 'betrayal'


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said opposition Peoples' Democratic Party leader Selahattin Demirtas has betrayed the country by calling for autonomy in Turkey’s east.

In remarks made during a press conference at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul just before his flight to Saudi Arabia Tuesday, Erdogan termed Demirtas’ recent comments as a "clear provocation".  

“How dare you talk about establishing a state in the southeast and the east within Turkey’s existing unitary structure?” the Turkish president asked. “You cannot take such a step. Neither this country’s national resolve nor our security forces will allow such a thing.” 

On Sunday, Demirtas said his party would support calls for the formation of "democratic autonomous regions" in Turkey's southeast as one of the 14 items in the final declaration of the Democratic Society Congress held in southeastern Diyarbakir province.

On Monday, Ankara prosecutor's office launched a probe against Demirtas over his autonomy remarks.  

Erdogan said HDP did not believe in the country’s parliament and were not a pro-Turkey party. "They do not believe in parliament. Although they started by saying: ‘We are a Turkey party and we are from Turkey’ before the June 7 elections, [but] it has turned out that they are not a Turkey party,” he said.

About the anti-terrorist operations being conducted across the country, Erdogan said that the number of terrorists killed within and outside Turkey was now over 3,000.

In response to claims that PYD, the Syrian affiliate of terrorist PKK organization, had moved to the west of Euphrates, the president said: “There is no certain information yet that they have crossed towards west of the Tishrin Dam”.

Tishrin Dam is on the Euphrates, east of Aleppo.

Saudi visit

During his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, Erdogan will meet senior Saudi officials to discuss bilateral relations, the recent developments in the Middle East as well as energy, trade and security subjects.

“Efforts have been increased to find a political solution in Syria, we are carrying out joint works with Saudi Arabia in solidarity and consultation …Our aim is to establish a fair, sustainable and lasting peace, especially in Syria and all the crisis regions," he said.

Turkey, together with coalition forces, has been exerting efforts to eliminate Daesh in Jarabulus in Aleppo, the Turkish president said, adding: “This will be certainly achieved”. 

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