ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called on his supporters not to heed what “Europe says and care about what Allah says,” on the latest developments in his country which the European Union described as “extremely worrying.”
Addressing a public gathering in the capital Ankara, Erdogan slammed the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) leaders and lawmakers, 10 of whom Turkish authorities imprisoned since Friday.
“Those who lean on terrorists will continue paying the price,” said Erdogan referring to a speech by the now jailed HDP co-chair Figen Yuksekdag.
The HDP co-chair had earlier praised the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
“We lean on the YPG, YPJ, and Rojava,” Yuksekdag had declared in a July 2015 speech to a crowd in the Suruc district of Urfa Province right across the border with the town of Kobani in Syrian Kurdistan.
Kobani was notably saved from a complete IS takeover earlier in the year by the US-backed Kurdish forces.
Turkey labels Syrian Kurdish forces terrorists for having ties with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a view repeatedly rejected by the US and EU countries.
“We lean on God and the people,” continued Erdogan who vowed nobody could divide his nation, bring down the Turkish flag, and destroy the Turkish state in remarks carried by the government-run Anadolu Agency.
Shortly after the Erdogan speech, EU’s High Representative for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini released a declaration on behalf of the Council of Europe.
Mogherini expressed “grave concern” over developments occurring since the failed July 15 coup attempt.
Renewed considerations to reinstate the death penalty, continued restrictions on the freedom of expression, closure of media outlets, and arrest warrants against journalists were “extremely worrying developments” in Turkey, according to Mogherini.
She also pointed to the most recent arrest of the co-chairs of the second largest opposition party, HDP, and the detention of several of its lawmakers as cause for concern.
EU’s top diplomat warned that the rule of law, the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms were weakening as a parliamentary democracy in Turkey was being compromised.
Calling Turkey’s fight against the “PKK terrorism” legitimate, Mogherini urged restraint and once again reiterated her stance that both sides should return to a political process.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany