Turkey’s Kurds Call for Self-rule Amid Heavy Fighting

A Kurdish demonstrator throws a tear gas canister back at riot police during a protest against the curfew in Sur district in the southeastern city of Diyarbekir, Turkey. (Source: Reuters/Sertac Kayar
A Kurdish demonstrator throws a tear gas canister back at riot police during a protest against the curfew in Sur district in the southeastern city of Diyarbekir, Turkey. (Source: Reuters/Sertac Kayar

A Kurdish demonstrator throws a tear gas canister back at riot police during a protest against the curfew in Sur district in the southeastern city of Diyarbekir, Turkey. (Source: Reuters/Sertac Kayar)

DIYARBAKIR (Reuters)— Kurdish groups meeting in southeastern Turkey called for self-rule on Sunday amid heavy fighting in the region as the army pushed ahead with a security operation in which it says more than 200 Kurdish militants have been killed.

The Democratic People’s Congress (DTK), made up of Kurdish non-governmental organizations, made the call after a two-day meeting in Diyarbakir.

“The rightful resistance mounted by our people against the policies that degrade the Kurdish problem, is essentially a demand and struggle for local self-governance and local democracy,” said the final resolution of the meeting, titled “declaration of political resolution regarding self-rule”.

The declaration called for the formation of autonomous regions including several neighboring provinces of Diyarbakir to take account of cultural, economic and geographic affinities.

The call could escalate tensions between Kurds and the Turkish government as the government adamantly opposes a separate Kurdish state.

President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech late on Saturday that Turkey would never allow the formation of another state within its borders.

“Now they are talking about separating our land in this country. With God’s permission, we will never allow a surgery on the unity of our country,” he said.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu canceled a planned meeting with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Saturday, saying its politics were rooted in violence, as government forces pursued a security operation in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

The army said in a statement on Saturday that more than 200 Kurdish militants had been killed over the last two weeks.

Television footage showed tank fire and explosions in Cizre, a town in the southeastern province of Sirnak, where a curfew has been in place for 13 days.

Three soldiers were killed in a bomb attack there by the Kurdish militant group PKK, the army said on Sunday.

Turkey has been alarmed by territorial gains by Kurds in Syria’s civil war, which it fears could stir separatism among its own Kurdish minority.

For the past three decades Ankara has been trying to end an insurgency by fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

A two-year ceasefire between Kurdish militants and Ankara fell apart in July, plunging the southeast back into a three-decades-old conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people.

Leading labor unions and professional chambers in Turkey have called for a one-day strike on Tuesday to demand peace, in protest against government-led military operations in southeastern Anatolia.

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4 Comments

  1. Original Armenian said:

    “Now they are talking about separating our land in this country. With God’s permission, we will never allow a surgery on the unity of our country,” Erdogan said.

    The only minor problem in this statement is the “our land” part.

  2. edward demian said:

    Well, this time, with Russia and the US competing for influence into a future Kurdistan, the Turks, as my grand dad used to say: “hoppah gerran.” A potential problem for a future Western Armenia will bean an already established Kurdistan on Wilsonian Armenia or any Armenia. Established and populated by Kurds, the Armenians of today are more likely to secure a future presence in historic Armenia by a serious collaboration with the Kurds of today. We most likely will get a Kurdish populated Western Armenia and then what? We need the Kurds.

  3. Vagharshak Sevulyan said:

    Hello,
    What happened to Yugoslavia should be happens to Turkey , it is too large space need to be portioned . Armenians , Greeks , Kurds and Syrians. Turks are getting very troublesome for that region, they are taking peoples self ruling by force and killing , some as their ancestors barbaric Selcuk Turks , they created states with blood. and still spilling innocent human beings. If continuance this trend will be lots of blood shed , worse then Iraq and Syria. Turks should realize Anatolia is not theirs , they are guest in Anatolia, real owners that I mentioned above. Sincerely Yours, Have a wonderful day, Good Bye until next time.

  4. Raffi said:

    Turkey’s biggest problem is the backsatabber Erdogan, only giving the right to establish an independet Kurdistan can avoid chaos in Turkey.

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