1720 GMT: Foreign Ministry condemned Israel’s new settlement activities. The statement reads:
We strongly condemn the Israeli Government’s issuance of tenders for the construction of many additional units at the “Nof Zion and Givat Zeev” settlements in East Jerusalem and the “legitimization” of the “Rechelim, Bruchin and Sansana” outposts in the West Bank in the context of the Israeli legislation, adding anew to its settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.
All settlement activities pursued by Israel in the Palestinian territories are violations of the international law. Efforts to legitimize these settlements in the context of the Israeli laws do not alter this fact.
Israel obstructs the revitalization of the peace process and seriously endangers the vision of a two-state solution through its settlement activities persistently maintained in disregard of the reactions of the world public opinion. In this context, the international community should continue to emphasize that the settlements are unacceptable.
We call on Israel to fulfill its responsibilities stemming from the international law concerning lasting peace in the Middle East and to put an end immediately to all its activities destroying the basis for peace.
1710 GMT: Two PKK members were arrested in the province of Sirnak.
1655 GMT: BDP's Hasip Kaplan said that they have no problems with the flag, the official language and borders. Kaplan added that Turkish is the common language.
1645 GMT: BDP's MP Sirri Sureyya Onder said in the Parliament that they are officially planning to propose to name 24 April as "the day of sharing sorrow and pains." Onder continued:
Saying that they will ask for compensation or even pieces of our lands if we say 'genocide' is shameful. If there is a crime against humanity, you will pay the compensation but no money on earth can relieve this pain.
1555 GMT: Speaking to Al-Jazeera, Premier Erdogan said: "We are not the enemy of Syria and Syrian people. We do not accept what Bashar Assad is doing and we become hostile to what Assad is doing because this is not humanitarian, not Islamic."
1520 GMT: Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani said that Iraq could face a political revolt if the September deadline did not bring a power-sharing mechanism to the political system. Barzani added: "But I would like to stress with you one fact: The current situation, the status quo, does not suffice as an option for us. This time, the timeline will not be open-ended as it has been in the past."
1440 GMT: Clashes between Iranian security forces and PJAK members leave four soldiers dead and another four wounded behind. At the same time, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan claimed that Turkish jets bombarded the Kandil region (where PKK's militia bases are located) on Tuesday evening along with Iranian artillery fires.
1400 GMT: In order to prevent PKK infiltrations, a convoy of 20 civil minibuses full of soldiers were carried to the border districts of the Sirnak province. Wireless signal blocker jammers and helicopters are accompanying the convoy.
1310 GMT: BDP's Demirtas continues in Washington:
Kurdish people are not a threat to Turkey. If Turkey wants to be more effective in its regional policies and really wants to serve to the regional peace, it must reach to a peaceful solution with Turkey's Kurds and must take all Kurds of Iraq and Syria out of the threat perception.
Demirtas also stated that they do not see PKK as a 'terrorist' organisation and denied any accusations that BDP has organic ties with PKK. Demirtas added that PKK is an actor that should be convinced for the solution.
1245 GMT: Former national police chief and politician Mehmet Ağar, who was sentenced to five years on charges of establishing a criminal organization in a trial concerning a car accident in 1996 that exposed links between the Turkish state, the criminal underworld and Turkish security forces (referred to as the Susurluk scandal), was placed in prison in the province of Aydin.
Before entering the prison, Ağar told the press that he is not angry at anyone, adding, “May God protect the state and our people from troubles.”
1210 GMT: President Abdullah Gul commented on the expected constituion's character. Gul said:
The new constitution must have a flexible and liberal character and it must stay away from the mentality of disciplining the nation's different political lines and of creating a tension between the nation and the state.
1125 GMT: Speaking at the Brookings Institute, Peace and Democracy Party's co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas said that Kurds have no problems with Turks but they have problems with the state which denies their identities and wants to assimilate them.
1100 GMT: Detention warrants were issued for more military officers in order to deepen the probe into the Feb. 28, 1997 coup.
Twenty-six people were earlier arrested in the first two operations in the Feb. 28 investigation including retired Gen. Çevik Bir and retired Gen. Erol Özkasnak, the secretary-general of the General Staff.
1045 GMT: 15 were taken into custody in the Hakkari district, with charges of being part of the milita structure of the outlawed PKK group.
1030 GMT: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement following Obama's "the Great Tragedy" speech on the anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide/Massacre. It says:
In his statement issued on 24 April 2012, US President Obama demonstrated this year once again an unfounded approach which reflects the Armenian views regarding the dispute between Turks and Armenians on the painful part of their common history. We regard this statement, which distorts the historical facts, as very problematic in every aspect and deeply regret it.
Issued upon domestic political considerations and interpreting controversial historical events with a selective sense of justice, such one-sided statements are not only misguided, but also render the normalization of the relations between Turkey and Armenia difficult.
What should be done by the US, as an important ally of Turkey, is not to further deepen the problem with such an approach, which also damages Turkish-American relations, but to provide constructive contributions for its resolution and, in this regard, to encourage the Armenian side, which avoids joint historical research, to be more realistic and conciliatory.
It should also be known that the pain experienced during the World War I is a shared one and the memory of that period is as sensitive for the Turkish people as for the Armenians. Despite all the prejudiced attempts to interfere with the writing of history, we will maintain our efforts to reach a just memory.
Erdogan vs Opposition's Kilicdaroglu
Speaking at his party group meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu of "supporting military coups" and called him a "Ba'athist". Erdogan continued:
The Republican People's Party (CHP) is the one that contrinuted to the coup on 27 May 1960 and applauded it afterwards. CHP is still advocating the necessity of 1960 coup. Since it was damaged by 12 September 1982 coup, CHP -- as if it is criticizing this -- has not faced with these with courage. CHP has been making controversial statements. Any statement starting with "I am against coups but" legitimizes coups.
Relations with Iraq
On Tuesday, Ankara summoned the Iraqi charge d’affaires, Sudat Khidir, countering Baghdad's summoning Turkish ambassador Yunus Demirer on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who has fled arrest after a falling-out with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, defended Ankara:
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has defined the current situation in Iraq as ominous. [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki] should not have overreacted to that. It is only natural that Turkey be concerned over what is happening in Iraq. Developments in Iraq would certainly affect Turkey, either negatively or positively.
The Iraqi government should act as the government of all Iraqis without any ethnic, sectarian or religious discrimination. Iraq should be a representative democracy, as it states in its constitution. The current political practice in Iraq goes against the Iraqi constitution.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu offered reassurances after he talked to Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, amid al-Maliki's visit to Tehran, "So far such a polarization has never been an issue, and from now on we won’t let it happen." Davutoglu also ruled out speculation that Tehran was behind Maliki's conflict with Ankara.
The Kurdish Issue
Seven suspects, among 34 members of the insurgent Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who surrendered to Turkish security forces in 2009, have been sentenced to up to 16 years in jail on charges of being a member of and disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, three security personnel and four PKK members were killed in a clash in the southern province of Bingöl on Tuesday.
US President Barack Obama made his expected speech on 24 April, the anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide/Massacre, but refrained from using the word "genocide":
Today, we commemorate the Meds Yeghern [The Great Tragedy], one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. In doing so, we honour the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who were brutally massacred or marched to their deaths in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire.