No one should be looking for a state for Kurds - Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that the Turkish Republic is the state of Kurds and no one should be searching for a state for Turkey’s Kurds elsewhere, pro-government newspaper Habertürk reported.

“We don’t say ‘there are no Kurds,’ we say ‘there is no Kurdish problem,’” the Turkish president said during his campaign speech in the country’s Kurdish majority south-eastern province of Diyarbakır on Sunday.

Erdoğan is looking to retain his position on June 24 when Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections which will usher in a new executive presidential system that grant increased powers to the president.

Critics argue that Erdoğan’s leading Justice and Development Party (AKP) will struggle to get the 50 percent of the vote it needs to win the presidency due to a collapse in its Kurdish vote. 

Noting that the AKP has saved “Kurdish people from the despotic old regime’s oppression,” Erdoğan told his audience in Diyarbakır, “we have secured your freedoms.” 

“Our Kurdish brothers and sisters are under protection of the state of Turkish Republic. Of course, there is a right to voice different political demands. But it has to be done within legitimate boundaries. What is binding for me as a president is also binding for everybody. This state will not allow those who are trying to undermine the law,” Erdoğan said.

The Turkish president stressed that the government is against those who pit the people of Turkey against each other using terrorist organizations such as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed Kurdish group that has been in war against the Turkish Armed Forces for over three decades.
Erdoğan also spoke out against those calling for the release of jailed Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş.

“They visit Edirne [prison] as though it were a cemetery. What will you get out of those visits? Come visit your people here,” the Turkish president said in an apparent reference to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce who last week visited Demirtaş in Edirne prison, where he has been detained for 19 months.

Ankara accuses HDP politicians of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interests of the PKK.