Erdogan warns of ‘heavy price’ for protests against Syria operation

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (REUTERS)
Updated 22 January 2018

Erdogan warns of ‘heavy price’ for protests against Syria operation

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.


Iran threatens ‘less secure’ shipping lanes if US halts oil exports

Updated 18 min 43 sec ago

Iran threatens ‘less secure’ shipping lanes if US halts oil exports

  • The ominous comments by the president and foreign minister come after months of attacks on vessels near the Strait of Hormuz
  • President Rouhani says unilateral pressure against Iran won't guarantee security

JEDDAH: Iran ramped up its threats against shipping on Wednesday, warning that international waterways can not be secure if the regime’s oil exports are halted by sanctions.

The ominous comments by the president and foreign minister come after months of attacks on vessels near the Strait of Hormuz, through which around one fifth of the world’s oil supplies are transported.

Iran has seized tankers and been blamed for sabotaging ships in response to tough sanctions from the US over the regime’s nuclear program and aggressive policies in the Middle East.

“World powers know that in the case that oil is completely sanctioned and Iran's oil exports are brought down to zero, international waterways can't have the same security as before,”  President Hassan Rouhani said while meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “So unilateral pressure against Iran can't be to their advantage and won't guarantee their security in the region and the world.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif added to concern over Iran’s future behavior, by saying Tehran might act "unpredictably" in response to "unpredictable" US policies under President Donald Trump.

"Mutual unpredictability will lead to chaos," Zarif said.

Washington ramped up an economic boycott of Iran after Trump last year withdrew from a deal between Tehran and international powers to curb its nuclear program in response to an easing of sanctions.

The sanctions have targeted critical sections of the Iranian economy, in particular its oil exports which have been drastically reduced. 

But the attacks on shipping near and inside the Arabian Gulf have rattled the major crude importers, particularly in Asia.

In response, the US is building maritime coalition to protect vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz between the Arabian Sea and Gulf. The UK, Bahrain and Australia are among those who have signed up.

Iran, predictably, has already warned against the alliance. Iranian Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, a deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, said no one can secure the Gulf other than Iran and countries of the region, according to the Fars news agency.

*With Reuters