Turkish minister: Islamic State, Gulenists and PKK all run from one place

Suleyman Soylu, Turkish Interior Minister. Photo: Yunus Okur/Anadolu Agency

Turkey’s Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, speaking at an opening ceremony for a service centre in the Eastern city of Agri, said that the opposition was always saying ‘no’ to the government’s investments into the country’s infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

Claiming that they were being targeted because of these good investments, the minister said they were “facing a disciplined attack from Daesh [using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group], FETO [the Gulenist movement] and the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party]. These organisations are all being directed from one place. Do not think that this is a coincidence.”

On the same day, the Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said the parliamentary opposition Republican People’s Pary (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) were on the same side and then referred to the same organisations as the interior minister, stating that, “the PKK, FETO and DHKP-C [Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front] are all collaborating for a no campaign for the constitutional reform referendum”.

Bozdag told party members in Yozgat, “look at the line-up of those saying ‘no’… the PKK’s leaders are making statements that ‘this system should not come to Turkey’. The Pennsylvania-based leader of the terrorist organisation FETO and all his cadres are working hard for a no result. The DHKP-C included, all terrorist organisations betraying the Turkish people are supporting the no campaign.

Speaking to the press in parliament, the CHP’s deputy leader Engin Altay asked, “if you are going to label everyone that is working for the no campaign as terrorists, what is the point of the referendum?”

Turkey is expected to go to a referendum in mid-April to vote on the constitutional reform package proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The reform package was approved in parliament with the support of deputies from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The package is now awaiting approval from the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, regarded as the architect of what has popularly come to be known as the ‘presidential system’.