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Turkey Live Coverage (9 May): Kurds, Syria, Iraq, and the EU

1800 GMT: The Humanitarian Aid Association (İHH) says Iranian officials helped in determining the whereabouts of the two missing Turkish journalists in Syria.

1645 GMT: Speaking to reporters after the three-hour meeting, Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek said the drafting process would commence on Thursday. Political parties will create a catalogue of basic rights and freedoms on Thursday. He said: “The first step of this process is [to determine] basic rights and freedoms."

1625 GMT: In its the U.S.-Turkey Relations: A New Partnership report, the Independent Task Force of Council on Foreign Relations says that "Turkey may not yet have the status of one of Washington's traditional European allies but there is good strategic reason for the bilateral relationship to grow and mature into a mutually beneficial partnership that can manage a complex set of security, economic, humanitarian, and environmental problems." 

1600 GMT: Diyarbakir Dicle University's Rector Aysegul Jale Sarac complained about the insufficient number of academic personnel in the region and showed the 'label of terrorism' for professors' not choosing the eastern part of the country. 

1545 GMT: In response to speculations whether Tariq al-Hashemi will be returned to Iraq, deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said that they would not return someone they had given support to. 

1420 GMT: A specialist corporal was killed when he stepped on a land mine in a rural area of the province of Tunceli. An air-backed operation began immediately. 

1300 GMT: Iraq's Tariq al-Hashemi thanked to the Turkish government for its support and said he will stay until the political crisis in Iraq is resolved. Hashemi continued:

Statements by high level Turkish officials [against the arrest warrant] confirmed Turkey's support for me. I am thankful to Turkey on this issue. I hope this political problem [in Iraq] is settled soon.

1245 GMT: When asked about the recent wave of detentions within the scope of the probe into the Feb. 28 process, Premier Erdoğan said:

The detentions are upsetting the public peace. We are also seriously bothered by this. One should take the necessary steps, carry out the procedure and be done with it. But as these waves are coming one after another, I must say, this country would drown in these waves. The investigation should not be dragged on this much.

1230 GMT: In a proposal delivered by the Turkish Cypriot leadership to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy to Cyprus, Alexander Downer, the world organisation was asked to work on confidence-building measures between Turkish and Greek Cyprus before July 1 since the reunification talks are unlikely to make progress soon.

The Kurdish Issue

Speaking at a party meeting on Tuesday, opposition Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas criticised the Government for stalling over the solution of the Kurdish problem:

We also have red lines. A constitution that denies different identities, different cultures, education in mother language, the right of having a status and self-administration is not a new one!

Specially authorized courts operate as AKP [Justice and Development Party]’s courts.  We have called on parties many times to have a ‘reciprocal truce’. However, we have been insulted for asking this. Didn’t you send delegates to Kandil and Imrali to have truce? 

On Tuesday, 46 people, including BDP administrators, were taken into custody in six cities in the investigation of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK). On the same day, five Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members were killed by security forces in the province of Bitlis. 

The Syrian Front

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticised both the Assad regime and the UN on Tuesday. Stating that he did not consider Syria's parliamentary elections as a sign that the country is moving toward democracy, Erdoğan said that the current number of 50 UN observers in Syria is not enough for a single district. Erdoğan called on the world organisation to increase the mission to 3000.

Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel is expected to meet with his American counterpart, Martin Dempsey, in Washington today. During his visit to Italy, PM Erdoğan said that a NATO intervention was among possible options on the table.


Despite Interpol issuing a “red notice” for Iraq's fugitive Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, Ankara is unlikely to arrest Hashemi and return him to Baghdad. Prime Minister Erdoğan said on Tuesday: “Hashemi continues with his initiatives regarding his legal problems. We gave him all kinds support on this issue and we will continue to do so."     

Detentions, Custodies, Warrants, Arrests

In the fourth wave of operations in a deepening probe into the coup of 28 February 1997, detention warrants were issued for 17 more active and retired military officers on Tuesday. Thirty-nine people were arrested in the first three operations. 

About 100 people were taken into custody in 10 provinces, charged with being members of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP/C).

The EU Project

In a written statement, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey’s European Union membership is an eventual outcome and a requirement of the natural flow of history. He said:

An EU which does not embrace Turkey will remain as a non-accomplished political project. As a matter of fact, the sustainability of this project could be ensured by Turkey‘s accession to the EU. The rapid change and transformation in today’s international political and economic relations reveal the extent of the positive repercussions which this historic project will have with the strength and effectiveness that Turkey’s accession will bring in global scale.

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