Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) could launch new operations in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq, where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is based, in a bid to attract nationalist votes ahead of the April 16 referendum. Speaking at a meeting in Ankara, Kılıçdaroğlu said the AKP could devise such a plan by the end of March to boost support from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voters on proposed amendments shifting Turkey to a presidential system of government. Such a move would signal that if the constitutional changes pass, military measures in the fight against terrorism will escalate, he added. Such a plan was faulty; however, as the PKK has already relocated itself to the other parts of the area, meaning that a potential operation against its base would be essentially pointless. In his speech, Kılıçdaroğlu also touched on his party’s referendum campaign promoting a “No” vote against the amendments. Campaign rallies will be kicked off from the Black Sea province of Amasya, a town where the initial steps of Turkish Independence War were taken by the founding father of the modern Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, he said.
The United States abstained from the vote, allowing the measure to pass by a vote of 14 in favor in the 15-member council. The resolution had been put forward for a vote on Friday by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal – one day after Egypt withdrew it under pressure from Israel and US President-elect Donald Trump. Amid widespread international support to work towards bringing an end to the controversial policy of building settlements, the resolution is reportedly near-impossible for the Trump administration to reverse. While the resolution does not call for imposing sanctions on Israel if it fails to comply, it could significantly weaken Israel’s lobbying and negotiating power in future peace talks.
Ivory Coast goes to the polls on Sunday to vote on constitutional changes that President Alassane Ouattara says will help to end years of instability and unrest linked to the vexed issue of “Ivorian-ness”. The draft constitution put forward by Ouattara – which parliament overwhelmingly approved earlier this week – would also create a vice president picked by the president and a senate, a third of whom would be nominated by the head of state. The controversial package of changes has succeeded in both alarming opposition leaders and leaving much of the electorate confused.
PM Netanyahu shut down discussion of the so-called “Amona law” on Sunday at the weekly gathering of the ministerial committee, just minutes before the bill was set to be voted on. The bill, which has been pushed by the Jewish Home and some members of the Likud, would normalize Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria such as Amona, providing compensation in money or alternative land to claimants, shielding the residents from ex post facto claims on the land where their homes were built. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit opposes the legislation, and Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for alternative solutions for the embattled town of Amona, which is slated for demolition by year’s end.