Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused opposition parties of instigating this week’s protests over the imminent fall of the Syrian Kurdish center of Kobane to the Islamic State.
At least 37 people died in clashes around the demonstrations, many in fighting between rival Kurdish parties.
Erdoğan said the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the main opposition of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) of a “perception operation”, claiming that Turkey was not helping Kobane against the jihadist assault.
The President, addressing a rally in the Black Sea city of Trabzon on Friday, argued that the two parties had no right to criticize the Government after they objected to the Parliamentary measure authorizing military intervention in Syria and Iraq:
Saying that Turkey isn’t helping Kobane is ingratitude. You oppose the motion in Parliament and then make a call for violence by saying that Turkey is not helping Kobane….
When the violence in the streets ceases, people will pay for this spoiled behavior.
The President did not mention the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), even though its supporters have been accused of killing four people on Thursday in Gaziantep in southeast Turkey.
Erdoğan warned that the Government would respond firmly to any unrest, amid its negotiations with Turkish Kurds, including the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK):
The resolution process doesn’t mean submitting and retreating with fear in the face of threats….
The steps that we are making toward democratization are disturbing some inside and outside the country … But they will not be successful in their dirty plots.
On Thursday, police used tear gas and water cannon against protesters at Ankara universities, detaining 20 students and five professors.
The President compared the tension to last year’s mass protests across the country, sparked by plans to “develop” Gezi Park in Istanbul and accusations of graft in the Government.