Turkish Interior Minister Soylu labels all NGOs and bar associations in Southeast as PKK affiliated

Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who was transferred by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from the Democratic Party (DP) as he was the leader of it, claimed that all non-governmental organisations and bar associations in the country’s southeast are affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), during an interview he gave to Turkey’s state-run TRT Haber.

Assessing the developments in the southeast Anatolia and Turkish government’s crackdown against Kurdish entities Minister Soylu has stated that “I shall express this too; such flagrant evaluations have been made. Those non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including the Diyarbakır Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Diyarbakır Bar Association which is also affiliated with the PKK, were in a new setup in Diyarbakır, yesterday. I am saying that very loudly and clearly. These NGOs are supporting the PKK.”

“Since all of our actions are legal, so whenever the PKK cannot say anything, the Diyarbakır Bar Association raises its voice against them. And now, yesterday, they were in a new setup. Twenty, twenty-two NGOs, so-called NGOs… (Because) all of these NGO’s are taking side with the PPK we closed down an essential part of them… But, these type of NGOs like the Bar Association, Medical Association, the so-called human rights associations… There are associations which are affiliated with the PKK,” said Soylu.

Soylu continued his claims as follow: “These NGOs are planning to go to Suruç (Şanlıurfa) as if they will give their condolences to two families (which clashed each other.) Do you know what this means? You can remember, they have assembled some tribunals years ago. And they are taking new steps towards that. I called our (AKP) deputy İbrahim (Halil Yıldız) and asked that is there anything like this? (He said) ‘Nobody asked us for an appointment. And if they have asked for we would not accept such an appointment.”

Emine Şenyaşar, who lost her husband, an official of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), and two sons on June 14 in the Suruç district of Şanlıurfa province during a series of fights between a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) election campaign team and local shopkeepers, told Jinnews on Monday that she witnessed her husband’s murder in a local hospital. Four people died in the incidents in Suruç, including the brother of AKP deputy İbrahim Halil Yıldız.

“PKK, with its all mastermind, is trying to coordinate the elections,” claimed Soylu and added that “Especially in the east and the southeast Anatolia, the PKK is trying to put pressure and meanwhile it is releasing these malice generating NGOs. All of theses (NGOs) produce malice. It is very clear. These (NGOs) send people to the mountains. These (NGOs) show all their efforts to clear the dirty games that PPK plays.”

“The chambers of commerce are also like this. I’m saying it clearly. Because these chambers of commerce have always made some negative statements in certain situations. When they were told their statements are wrong, they tell us ‘we didn’t mean that’ and they hided behind lies as always,” said Soylu and continued: “The (Diyarbakır) Bar Association is like this too. Their main mission is to clear (the crimes of) the PKK.”

The Board of Directors of Diyarbakır Bar Association has made a statement concerning the accusations of Minister Soylu on Tuesday and urged Soylu to do what is necessary if he is really behind his allegations. The statement added that “As Diyarbakır Bar Association’s Chair and Board Members, we await your anti-terror teams and prosecutors. We are not afraid; rather, we are right there where you murdered Tahir Elçi…”

On October 15, 2015, Tahir Elçi, former head of Diyarbakır Bar Association, had stated that ‘the PKK is not a terrorist organisation’ on CNN Turkey TV. Thereupon, while the channel was sentenced to pay a fine of 700,000 TL (232,000 euros) Tahir Elçi was brought to İstanbul after being taken into custody on November 20, 2015 in his very office at the bar association. He faced imprisonment of 7,5 years on charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”

Elçi was murdered on November 28, 2015 during a press statement he was making in front of Dört Ayaklı Minare (Quadruped Minaret) in Sur district of Diyarbakır province. The investigation has not made any progress and the perpetrators have not been identified so far.

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