1820 GMT: It is reported that an investigation committee on military coups and memorandums is to be set up in the parliament. As known, the judicial process has already begun on the 1980 military coup and the parliament itself is a co-plaintiff of the case now.
1730 GMT: The Turkish Foreign Ministry denied media reports in Iran claiming that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu apologized over Turkish Premier Erdogan's recent remarks, accusing Tehran of being "not honest".
1645 GMT: Human Rights Association of Turkey reveals human rights violations of 2011. According to the report, 12,685 people were taken into custody, 2,922 were arrested and 3,252 were tortured.
Having drawn attention to the increasing figures of Turkey's humans rights violations, the head of the Association Ozturk Turkdogan said: "The political power is establishing a police state!"
1620 GMT: Military operation backed by 2,000 soldiers and Cobra helicopters against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is continuing the province of Tunceli. Two shelters and one cave were detected. In these cells, kilograms of explosive materials were captured.
1550 GMT: Speaking at the group meeting, Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said:
All circles in the country are working for Justice and Development Party (AKP). Governors, district governors, soldiers, chief constables, heads of tax offices... all work for AKP. We are not just struggling against AKP; but also against the status quo it created. Do not listen to what he is saying about 'the nation'. For him, 'the nation' equals to Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They emptied the meaning of nation completely. They became pharaohs in ten years. They created their own status quo.
1400 GMT: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will have a video conference with foreign ministers of the G-8 summit in the evening. Davutoglu had cut short a trip to China and returned to Turkey early on Wednesday.
1100 GMT: It is reported that Turkish soldiers were ordered 'not to pull the trigger unless targeted directly' when the exchange of fire was heard on Monday morning, near the province of Kilis. That, as claimed, saved the possibility of a tragedy between two countries when Turkish officers and soldiers were not successful in preventing Syrian refugees from crossing the border when they wanted to help wounded Syrians trying to reach to the Turkish side.
1040 GMT: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked to her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu on Syria ahead of the G-8 foreign ministers meeting which is to start in Washington today.
Latest on Syrian-Turkish Relations
A day after they wounded six people in an attack on a refugee camp in southeastern Turkey, President Assad's forces reportedly opened fire on Syrians trying to escape to Kilis through the mined field. Some bullets hit the container city built for the refugees on the Turkish side of the border, but no deaths or injuries were reported.
In a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem accused Ankara of undermining the peace initiative of United Natons envoy by arming Syria's rebels and helping them cross the border.:
Turkey... supports illegal Syrian militant groups, supplies them with weapons... and lets them illegally cross into Syria. How can we (fulfill the plan) if there are still illegal arm deliveries and moving of militants from Turkey?
Lavrov underlined the importance of the need of the opposition to halt armed activities without directly targeting Ankara.
At the end of Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a press statement on Syria:
We observe that the Syrian Regime has failed to fulfill its pledge as expected of it by today (10 April) to cease troop movements towards population centers, end the use of heavy weapons in these centers and to begin the pullback of military forces in and around population centers, in accordance with the Joint Special Envoy for the UN and League of Arab States Kofi Annan’s Six Point Plan and the UN Security Council’s Presidential Statement dated 5 April 2012 and that the Syrian Regime continues its acts of violence in an ever increasing manner. In fact, the Syrian Regime’s attacks on civilians have gained intensity in recent days in areas along the Turkish-Syrian border and camps within Turkey have also received gun fire.
Turkey has fully supported Joint Special Envoy for the UN and League of Arab States, Kofi Annan’s mission from its very inception; has assisted and continues to assist Mr. Annan’s efforts aimed at bringing an immediate end to the bloodshed in Syria and initiating a political transition process in line with the people’s legitimate expectations. The Syrian opposition’s support for Kofi Annan was openly communicated in Istanbul to his deputy Nasir El Kidva.
The UN Security Council’s Presidential Statement stipulates the condition that the Syrian Regime must fulfill all its commitments as pledged to Mr. Annan, 48 hours prior to 12 April, the date on which violence in all its forms should be brought to an end in its entirety. Since this has not occurred, we urgently expect the Security Council to adopt a resolution that will also incorporate the necessary measures to provide for the protection of the Syrian people.
Erdogan’s Harsh Response to Assad
Speaking to reporters during a visit to China, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan targeted Syrian President Bashar Assad. Referring to the cross-border attack on Monday that wounded two Turks and four Syrian refugees, Erdogan said:
What should Turkey do in the event of a border violation? Turkey will eventually do what other countries would do in accordance with international law. This is a right granted to us by the international law.
You are seeing how these people are escaping [from Syria] on some international television channels. These people are not fleeing out of fancy. They are fleeing death. You cannot close your doors to these people.
They [Syrian soldiers] are even shooting fleeing people in the back. They are mercilessly shooting regardless of whether they are women or children. Look, he [Assad] gave a promise to Mr. [Kofi] Annan, but 60, 70, 80, 100 people are still being killed a day since then. Additionally, now there is a clear border violation. This is clear. We will also make a necessary assessment with regards to this border violation. Our diplomacy is continuing with neighbouring countries and we will, of course, take the necessary steps.
Meanwhile, Erdogan revealed that he would visit Saudi Arabia on Friday to talk about the ongoing crackdown in Syria.
The timing and location are important. Saudi Arabia, with Qatar, has argued for the arming of the opposition while Turkey establishs a buffer zone inside Syria.
Erdogan will undoubtedly discuss this proposal, but it is unlikely that Saudi support alone will move Ankara toward implementation --- multilateral endorsement is needed, and the Turkish Prime Minister has said the UN Security Council should present a new package on Syria at this stage.
Annan’s Tour of Turkey
The UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan toured refugee tent cities in Turkey's Hatay province. Before departing to Tehran, Annan said:
I had a chance to talk to women and children who fled from the violence in Syria. We can not succeed in bringing a truce to end the crisis so far, but we will continue our joint efforts. Syria must provide humanitarian access to the country, and all violence must be stopped on April 12 at 6 am.
With Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in China nd his Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on his way home from China, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay accompanied Annan. Atalay said Turkey anticipates that the UN Security Council will fulfill its responsibilities and face the fact that there has been no concrete progress towards a truce.
US Senators’ Emphasis on Arms
Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman visited a refugee camp at the Syrian-Turkish border. McCain said:
The international community is failing the people of Syria. The only way to reverse this is to help the opposition change the military balance of power on the ground.
Our message to Russia and China and Iran, but especially to Russia and China is: Shame on you. Shame on you for blocking the efforts that could be made by the United Nations to stop the slaughter.
Lieberman added: "We must give arms to freedom fighters to help them defend themselves and their families, at a minimum."
Education Bill Approved
Eleven days after the Parliament’s approval of the 4+4+4 education bill, increasing the duration of compulsory education from an uninterrupted eight years to three compulsoryfour-year stages, President Abdullah Gul approved the legislation on Tuesday.
The provision that students can go to vocational high schools at the end of the first four years has been criticised by all opposition parties, concerned that children at the age of 11 will be forced to choose schools that put them to work as part of the selected programmes. The opposition hs claimed that the number of child labourers and brides will increase significantly and that the lack of elective courses, particularly on Islam and Mohammad’s life, could be detrimental.
The Latest on the KCK Case
Publisher Ragıp Zarakolu and 14 other suspects were released pending trial in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case on Tuesday.