Leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli directed harsh criticism at Massoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq, yesterday.
He accused Barzani of leading the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has carried out a number of deadly attacks in Turkey during the past weeks.
Speaking at a party meeting, Bahçeli asserted that the PKK was no longer headed by Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the organization, but instead by the leader of the peshmerga forces in northern Iraq. He claimed that Barzani has become the head of the separatist activities and terrorism that have been devastating Turkey recently. In light of this, he asked that a possible military incursion into northern Iraq to hit the bases of the PKK should be conducted in such a way as to prevent any threat from the peshmergas as well.
Referring to a recent statement from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who said Iraq would not even hand a Kurdish cat to Turkey, let alone PKK leaders, Bahçeli said that those making such defiant statements should be reminded of what it means to heckle Turkey.
The MHP leader also directed criticism at the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), which has so far refused to declare the PKK a terrorist organization. “A cross-border operation should not be seen only as a means to render the armed components of the separatist organization inoperative,” he told his party members. He stressed that engaging in separatist activities should not be seen as legitimate just because the perpetrators do not have weapons in their hands, in an apparent appeal to the DTP deputies, who he accuses of engaging in separatism. “Separatism is a project of treason that targets our national solidarity and unity,” Bahçeli said. “While we are looking for terrorists in the Kandil Mountains we should not forget that the supporters of terrorists are wandering in municipal buildings, university conference halls and even in the corridors of the Parliament,” he emphasized, again targeting the DTP deputies.
The MHP leader also said that his party was ready to give complete support to anti-PKK measures that will be taken at home and abroad. “A Parliament that fails to do this [stopping the PKK] has betrayed its raison d’être and violated the grounds for its establishment,” he added.