ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sunday of a “heavy price” for protests against Turkey’s military operation against Syrian Kurdish militia, after the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) called on people to take to the streets.
“Some HDP representatives are calling on my Kurdish citizens to get out into the squares. Until now, not many people have come out,” Erdogan said in the northwestern province of Bursa.
“But let me say this here... Do not even think about it! There will be a heavy price to pay by those who respond to this call,” he added.
“This is a national fight. We will crush whoever opposes us in this national fight and go on.”
He earlier also hit out at the calls, telling the HDP that they were being watched.
“You will not be able to have a free hand. Hey HDP... hey PKK, wherever you come out, know this: our security forces will be breathing down your neck,” Erdogan vowed.
His warnings came a day after Turkey launched an operation with Syrian rebels to oust the Syrian Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) militia from Afrin.
Turkey views the YPG militia as “terrorists” linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting against the Turkish state since 1984.
Ankara also often accuses the HDP of being a political front for the PKK, claims which the party strongly denies.