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Turkey’s Erdogan visits Diyarbakir seeking Kurdish support

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Turkey’s Kurdish region,— Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan described himself as a “guardian of peace” on Saturday as he called on Kurds in Turkish Kurdistan to vote ‘yes’ in a referendum in two weeks time on reforms that would grant him sweeping new powers. Since July 2015, Turkey initiated a controversial military campaign against the PKK in the country’s southeastern Kurdish region after Ankara ended a two-year ceasefire agreement. Since the beginning of the campaign, Ankara has imposed several round-the-clock curfews, preventing civilians from fleeing regions where the military operations are being conducted.

Erdogan said: “I hope Newroz becomes a portent of peace, stability and luxury after months of fighting"

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Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan said he hopes Newroz become a portent of peace and stability to the world in a statement released in various languages, including Kurdish. “On this occasion, I congratulate my sisters and brothers on Newroz day”, Erdogan said in a statement in the Kurdish language posted to Twitter to commemorate the holiday. “I hope Newroz becomes a portent of peace, stability and luxury”. His message comes as millions celebrate Newroz, the spring festival, in Diyarbakir in the southeast of Turkey amid tight security after months of fighting between security forces and Kurdish fighters.

Merkel renews demand that Turkey cease drawing Nazi comparisons with Germany

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Chancellor Angela Merkel said on March 20 that her demand that Turkey cease drawing Nazi comparisons with Germany and its allies applies “without ifs or buts”, and pointed to a government threat last week that it could prevent Turkish politicians from entering the country. Merkel’s comments came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused her personally of “committing Nazi practices”. Erdoğan’s comments were the latest escalation in a string of comments by Turkish officials drawing Nazi parallels with present-day Germany and the Netherlands in a dispute over restrictions on Turkish ministers campaigning there for an upcoming referendum. Merkel pointed to a Foreign Ministry note sent to Turkey last week allowing Turkish referendum polling stations in Germany, in which Ankara was told that appearances by Turkish politicians must respect the principles of the German constitution, and that Berlin otherwise reserves the right to “take all necessary measures”.

Erdoğan says no to “violence” and “coups”, the quality of politics is improved

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“Hooliganism” will soon be a thing of the past in both Turkish football and Turkish politics, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said March 20 at a symposium on football in Istanbul ahead of the April 16 constitutional referendum, suggesting that “violence” and “coups” would no longer get people anywhere. “As the quality of politics improved, our nation eliminated those who believe in getting power via rigging, cheating, coups, threats, destructive politics and no elections”, the president told the meeting of top football players and administrators. We have still not been able to bring the Olympics to our country; but you know what intrigues we went through then. Even though we deserved it, we were not given the Olympics”, he said.

Turkey, new tensions with European countries.

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Summoned the German ambassador in Ankara to protest against the Kurdish demonstration in Frankfurt.Erdogan on the story of journalist turkish-German Deniz Yucel: “Thank God he was arrested” and will be tried by the ‘independent judiciary’ Turkish, since it is considered a terrorist agent. Also the Danish Foreign Minister convenes the turkish ambassador in Copenhagen after the threats made to some turkish-Danish citizens who risk the charge of high treason.

 

Introduction of death penalty in Turkey will break off EU negotiations.

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The introduction of the death penalty in Turkey would mean breaking off accession negotiations with the European Union, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said.  “If Turkey were to reintroduce the death penalty, that would be tantamount to breaking off negotiations”, he told German daily Bild am Sonntag on March 19 regarding President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s comments at a March 18 rally, where he said he would restore the capital punishment. Juncker also commented on the latest row between Turkey and the Netherlands and Germany over the European countries’ decision to ban Turkish ministers from holding meetings for the April 16 referendum, which will decide whether to change the government system into an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for the president or to protect the current parliamentary system.

‘Masquerade ball is over’, Erdoğan tells Europe.

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Europe’s “masquerade ball’ is over, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has told the continent following his most recent spat with domestic and foreign enemies, slamming countries such as Germany and the Netherlands for banning Turkish ministers from conducting constitutional amendment campaigns. “What has been happening in Europe lately shows that the struggle against my country and against our struggle has passed to a new stage. Those who tried to come at us with their men, with the terrorists that they support and gave guns to, with the spies they bought with a dollar, are now in the field. My brothers and sisters, the masquerade ball is over”. Erdoğan accused European countries of supporting the political campaigns of the opposition to constitutional amendments that will usher in an executive presidency with near-unencumbered powers for himself.

Thousands of Kurds protest against Turkey's Erdogan in Frankfurt.

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Around 9,000 Kurdish supporters demonstrated in the German city of Frankfurt against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and an April referendum that would give him sweeping new powers. “We don’t need any Erdogan, we don’t need him. His people are going to say ‘yes and we need a ‘no,no,no’. I am against Erdogan. That’s it. He is a dictator”, said another demonstrator who didn’t want to give his name.Several hundred police officers were deployed at the demonstration, which police said was peaceful. On Wednesday the German government approved voting by the estimated 1.4 million Turks living in Germany who are eligible to cast ballots in the April 16 referendum.Erdogan is seeking support among Turks abroad for the referendum. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has said Erdogan is taking advantage of a sentiment many people of Turkish origin have in Germany that they are neither accepted nor welcomed. Relations between Ankara and Berlin have been burdened by the arrest of a Turkish-German journalist in Turkey and by Erdogan’s description of bans on planned rallies by Turkish ministers as “fascist”.

Hollande, Merkel: Turkey should obey French and German laws in campaign rallies for the upcoming referendum

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French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have said Turkey should obey French and German laws in campaign rallies for the upcoming referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system. Hollande said on March 16 that he agreed with Merkel that future events organized in the two countries for the Turkish referendum campaign could take place “provided they adhere to French and German laws”. Germany banned several planned rallies by Turkish ministers, triggering a diplomatic spat between the two countries, with Turkish President RecepTayyipErdoğandescribing the bans as “fascist”. He has also decried the Dutch authorities as “Nazi” for blocking a Turkish minister’s meeting last weekend.

Erdoğan has accused the top EU court of commencing a struggle between the “Christian cross and the Muslim crescent”

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused the top EU court of commencing a struggle between the “Christian cross and the Muslim crescent” following a ruling that allows companies to ban staff from wearing visible religious symbols. “Where is the liberty of religion? They have commenced a struggle between the cross and crescent. There is no other explanation than this. I am saying this clearly: Europe is heading toward the days just before World War II”,Erdoğan said March 16 at a rally in Sakarya. The European Court of Justice ruled on March 14 to allow companies to ban employees from wearing the Islamic headscarf, “but only as part of prohibitions including other religious and political symbols”.

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