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Turkish Press Roundup

This week the Turkish Press noted the announcement by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu that number of Syrian refugees residing in Turkey has reached 70,000. Davutoğlu reiterated that, should the number rise to 100,000, Turkey will seriously consider unilateral armed action to establish “secure zones” for the refugees. (CNNTurk)

Valerie Amos, the UN emergency relief coordinator dealing with the crisis at the Syrian border, responded to this comment in a carefully worded statement by pointing out that long-standing disagreements among the 15 current UN Security Council members, including two Permanent Members, would prevent passage of a resolution calling for safe havens inside Syria. (Radikal) Her remarks were quoted and restated by the Deputy Chairman of the main Turkish opposition party, Faruk Lologlu (CHP). (Zaman)

A clandestine Israeli delegation tasked with outlining a path for reconciliation is rumored to have visited Ankara this week, led by Israel’s Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen. (Today’s Zaman)

Coverage of domestic politics by the Turkish Press was marked by unusually virulent anti-Kurdish sentiments this week, as two major stories unfolded: (1) the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) detonated a large-scale truck bomb outside a police station in Gaziantep, killing nine and wounding more than 60 people; (Today’s Zaman) (2) a video tape emerged of parliamentary deputies from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which advocates for Kurdish rights, embracing and chanting with members of the PKK. (Vatan) As a result, leadership from the AKP, as well as Turkey’s major opposition parties, declared that, during Bayram, they would not meet with members of the BDP. (Anadolu Ajansı) Before narrowly escaping a stoning by PKK sympathizers in Hakkari, Turkey’s notoriously inflammatory Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin went further than others in his public statements to accuse the BDP of plotting attacks in Turkey’s southeastern provinces. (NTV)

In an interview this week, Abdülkadir Sezgin, director of the Religious Affairs Employees and Specialists Association, stated that Alevis employed by Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate are concealing their identity out of fear while working for the government as muftis, preachers, and imams. (Hürriyet Daily News)

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  • WigWag

    Good overview, but you missed a big one. A Kurdish activist who had recently met with Erdogan wa sentenced to a prison term of ten years for a speech she gave in 2007 to commemorate the Kurdish New Year. Apparently the activist, Leyla Zana, committed a heinous offense; she uttered a few nice words about the imprisoned Abdullah Ocalan. It seems that in Turkey if you lead an organization like Hamas that is partial to blowing up Jews, the Government thinks you’re a hero. If, on the other hand you lead an organization like the PKK that targets Turkish military targets, you’re a monster.

    What was the statute that M’s Zana violated? She spoke in laudatory terms about Ocalan which the Turkish Parliament has specifically outlawed.

    For more, see this,

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