Erdogan: Turkey' won't bow to Kurdish militancy
Erdogan: Turkey' won't bow to Kurdish militancy
Late last year Turkish intelligence officials began talks with jailed Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan on how to end an insurgency which has killed more than 40,000 people since rebels loyal to him took up arms in 1984.
The talks drew fierce criticism from nationalist circles which accused the government of going soft on Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and United States.
"Nobody can make us surrender. We did not take a step back in the face of any attack, we will not take any steps back," he told his ruling AK Party in Parliament in the capital Ankara.
"Violence and terror have brought nothing to this country but pain, blood and tears. Believe me, we have one goal: that is to halt the mothers' tears," he said.
"We are cautious, careful but hopeful."
The nascent talks were overshadowed last week by the execution-style killings of three Kurdish women activists in Paris, which Erdogan has suggested could be the result of an internal feud in the PKK or a bid to derail the peace talks.
The PKK blamed shadowy elements within the Turkish state or foreign powers and Ocalan issued a call on Monday through his brother for French police to solve the murders. But he gave no indication their killing would disrupt the peace talks.
Ocalan's younger brother Mehmet, who visited him in his jail on the island of Imrali near Istanbul, said the PKK leader did not comment on the peace process but may make a statement later if Kurdish political party leaders visit him.
Dialogue between Ocalan and government officials, which media reports say yielded a framework for full negotiations, began after Ocalan called on hundreds of PKK inmates to end a hunger strike last November. His brother Mehmet had conveyed that appeal after a previous visit.
"He was very saddened by the massacre in France. He condemns it," Mehmet Ocalan told reporters on his return from Imrali late on Monday. "They must solve this massacre right away."
"This massacre was a sign. Hence he was very downcast. He sent his condolences to the families of the three Kurdish women who were killed," he said, without clarifying what the sign was.
French investigators have given no indication as to who might be responsible for the deaths.
Ocalan was long held in virtual isolation after his capture in 1999. Access to him remains tightly controlled and his lawyers have not seen him for 16 months.
One of the three women killed in Paris was Sakine Cansiz, a founding PKK member well-known to Kurdish nationalists and believed to be an important PKK financier in Europe. PKK fighters are based mainly in northern Iraq.
The bodies of the three were set to be flown to Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, today ahead of a funeral ceremony tomorrow.
Erdogan and other political leaders called for calm ahead of the funerals and warned against efforts to provoke trouble.
"Our sensible citizens won't rise to the bait," he said. "Some want to destroy the peace process we have begun. This must not be allowed to happen."
Thousands of Kurds from across Europe descended upon Paris on Saturday, demanding justice for three activists shot dead in the French capital. The Turkish leader, meanwhile, demanded how a wanted militant could have found a comfortable refuge in France.
Crowds of Kurds streamed to Paris from throughout Europe, marching through the neighborhood where Sakine Cansiz's body was found inside a Kurdish information center along with two other activists. Cansiz was a founder of the Kurdish rebel group that has been battling the Turkish government for three decades.
Prince William visits Jerash, meets students during Jordan visit
- Britain’s Prince William visited the Roman ruins of Jerash in northern Jordan, accompanied by his host Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah
- The two princes met children from Jordan and neighboring war-torn Syria during their visit to the site
AMMAN: Britain’s Prince William ended a two-day tour of Jordan on Monday that included a visit to the archaeological Roman city of Jerash. The visit also included meetings with young Jordanian and Syrian students.
Ziad Guneimat, head of the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Archaeology in Jerash, told Arab News that the visit was very successful. “The prince toured the entire facility and expressed amazement at the location and its history,” he said.
Guneimat said that the British prince was accompanied by Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, who said that this was his first official visit to the important archaeological site since becoming crown prince and regent.
Prince William posed for a photo in the same location where his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, was photographed as a two-year-old when her father was director of the British Airways office in Amman.
The Duke of Cambridge visits Jerash, the same site that The Duchess of Cambridge visited, aged 4, with her sister and father when the family lived in Jordan. pic.twitter.com/PMoFrr4Snt— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) June 25, 2018
The Duke of Cambridge told a crowd of Jordanian and internationals at a reception that his wife, who had recently given birth, was sorry she could not make the trip to Jordan.
Osama Salameh, a spokesman for the Royal Court in Amman, told Arab News that Prince William and the Jordanian crown prince spoke with Jordanian and Syrian students on the sidelines of the visit to the archaeological site.
A spokesperson for UNICEF said that Prince William met with younger Syrian refugees benefiting from UNICEF’s Makani program, which offers psychological support for Syrian refugee parents and children.
The British prince was unable to watch his country’s World Cup game live on Sunday, so the UK embassy recorded the game and he was seen watching the recorded version of Britain’s 6-1 victory over Panama along with Jordan’s crown prince.
At an event sponsored by the UK Embassy in Amman on Sunday to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday, Prince William read out a message in which the queen looked back warmly on her 1984 visit to Jordan and spoke of the country as “a staunch and long-held friend.”
“The way in which you opened your doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, not to mention your longstanding commitments to Palestinian refugees, is remarkable,” the prince told Jordanians. The event was attended by Jordanians, members of the diplomatic corps as well as the newly sworn-in Prime Minister Omar Razzaz and members of his Cabinet.
Prince William arrived in Israel on Monday for the first-ever official visit of a member of the British royal family to the tumultuous region London once ruled.
Arriving from neighboring Jordan, the Duke of Cambridge landed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport and then departed to Jerusalem, where he will stay at the elegant King David Hotel, site of the former administrative headquarters of the British mandate.
Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Prince William will be staying at the Hotel, which was the main administrative building of officials during the British Mandate from 1920-1948. The hotel was also the site of a terrorist attack by a Zionist underground organization in July 1946, which killed 91 people.