ANKARA—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday proposed stripping Turkish citizenship from supporters of Kurds, who are being accused of being separatists and waging war, reported Agence France Presse.
The comments by Erdogan marked the latest escalation in his drive to crack down on dissent against the government’s relentless operation to wipe out the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
“To prevent them from doing harm we must take all measures, including stripping supporters of the terrorist organisation of their citizenship,” Erdogan said in a speech to lawyers in Ankara.
“These people don’t deserve to be our citizens. We are not obliged to carry anyone engaged in the betrayal of their state and their people.”
But Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the government was not planning “for the moment” to strip PKK supporters of their nationality.
“This idea is not ready,” Davutoglu told reporters during a visit to Finland.
In March, Erdogan came under fire for calling for the definition of terrorism to be expanded to include journalists, activists and others who “exploit their positions, pens and titles and put them at terrorists’ disposal.”
But this was the first time he has proposed that supporters of the PKK be stripped of their nationality.
“Supporters (of terror) who pose as academics, spies who identify themselves as journalists, an activist disguised as a politician … are no different from the terrorists who throw bombs,” Erdogan said Tuesday.
“But like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, they serve the same purpose as the members of the terror organisation. As a nation we need to be careful. No one must commit treachery against the state and the nation behind our backs.”
Erdogan has also pushed for lawmakers from a pro-Kurdish party to be stripped of their parliamentary immunity so they can be prosecuted for “terrorist propaganda.”