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    Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addresses local administrators at his palace in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016

    Erdogan Says Democracy Has 'No Value', Vows to Crack Down on Opposition

    © AP Photo/ Presidential Press Service/Kayhan Ozer
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    In the wake of a recent bomb attack in Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that the fight against terrorism is above the “rule of law” and vowed to hit his enemies, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in particular, with "an iron fist."

    Amid a sharp escalation in the conflict in southeast Turkey, Erdogan stated in a televised address that “democracy, freedom, and the rule of law” have “absolutely no value any longer,” DPA news agency reported.

    Erdogan’s speech appeared charged with hatred as he called for a line to be drawn between his friends and enemies, and promising war against the latter.

    "Those who stand on our side in the fight against terrorism are our friend. Those on the opposite side are our enemy," he said, referring to the conflict with the PKK.

    Erdogan also threatened to turn his government’s military against the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

    "Wherever you run, our soldiers, police and village guards will find you there and do what is necessary," the embattled president said.

    Earlier he called on the parliament to lift immunity for HDP party leaders, allowing his security forces to arrest and detain legislators for proposing the creation of an autonomous Kurdish territory within the country.

    “I no longer see as legitimate political actors the members of a party which is operating as a branch of the terrorist organization,” Erdogan declared, while suggesting that the HDP is an offset of the prohibited PKK party.

    As of Wednesday, local media reported that at least 73 people, including many lawyers, had been detained for alleged links to PKK.

    Chris Stephenson, a UK academic working in Istanbul’s Bilgi University, faces deportation for signing a petition aimed at stopping Erdogan’s  anti-Kurd state offensive in the southeast.

    Ankara is waging a fierce propaganda campaign to justify its attacks on  Kurds. Erdogan has upped the ante recently, not only in the form of suppressing local media, but also nationalizing the nation’s largest newspaper, to avert the release of stories contrary to his political taste. The increasingly strident Turkish leader accuses external powers for exacerbating what he considers to be a Kurdish problem within Turkey.

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    Tags:
    offensive, Kurds, propaganda, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Ankara
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