16 December 2017

PKK said "no" to referendum

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Duran Kalkan, senior leader and one of the five founders of the PKK, urged every social group in Turkey to vote "no" in the upcoming referendum for the recently accepted constitutional amendment package that would allow the country to switch to a presidential system.

According to Turkish media reports yesterday, the senior PKK figure claimed that Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli is supporting the proposed presidential system in the upcoming referendum because he and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had made an agreement on the eradication of the terrorist organization. During a speech, Kalkan claimed that an alleged alliance between Bahceli and Erdogan will result in increased pressure on the PKK and urged every social group in Turkey to vote "no" in the referendum, to be held in early April, and oppose the implementation of a presidential system. Similarly, Rıza Altun, senior executive of the PKK-affiliated Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), last week called on people to vote against the proposal.

Meanwhile, the political parties launched their campaigns for and against the proposed bill which will, if it is passed, see Turkey transition from a parliamentary system to a presidential system. The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) started their campaign for the "no" side in the Bağcılar district of Istanbul. The HDP, a number of whose members of parliament, including co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, were indicted by the Prosecutor's Office in Istanbul for aiding the PKK terrorist organization and propagating its ideas, organized an event at which HDP Istanbul Deputy Pervin Buldan was in attendance. Photographs of PKK militants who had been killed were hung on the walls of the event venue. The HDP and Republican People's Party (CHP) are the two parties with seats in parliament that form a bloc that is in opposition to the referendum.

The PKK and HDP, then known as the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), had also opposed the 2010 referendum which reformed the judicial structure. The chair of the party, Demirtaş, had called on people to boycott the referendum, while PKK militants employed scare tactics to intimidate the people of southeastern Turkey, on some occasions threatening villagers by saying that they would "burn down their village" if people went to vote in the referendum.

2017.02.01 / 10:59
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