Ankara, Oct 21 () - Opposition party leaders have furiously responded to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s claims that a government without the Justice and Development Party (AKP) would lead to a period similar to the 1990s, an era of unsolved murders and disappearances mostly in the predominantly Kurdish-populated eastern and southeastern Anatolia.
“For God’s sake, what happened after June 7 and terror restarted?” Davutoğlu said on Oct. 20, referring to the June 7 elections. The unrest escalated following a July 20 suicide bomb attack that killed 34 people in Şanlıurfa’s border town of Suruç and was blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“Was Van under the rule of bloody terrorist organizations from every fraction during the 1970s better? […] Were these lands, which suffered from inhumane and militarist practices of the Sept. 12 junta, better earlier?” Davutoğlu asked, speaking at a rally in the eastern province of Van.
“Well, were the 1990s better? Were the days of the ‘White Toros’ better? […] Which one was better than June 8?” he asked.
White models of the Renault 12-based “Toros,” manufactured in Turkey between the 1970s and 1990s, are infamous for being used by JİTEM, an alleged clandestine intelligence unit within the gendarmerie whose existence has never been confirmed by the military and was accused of countless unsolved cases of murders and disappearances.
“Axes of evil, beware of our determination. They know terror axes will become strengthened and the resolution process will end when AK Parti [the Justice and Development Party] weakens; terrorist gangs or ‘White Toroses’ will come around like in the past. We will no longer leave this country to unknown murderers or terrorist gangs,” said Davutoğlu, whose AKP failed to win parliamentary majority in the June 7 elections for the first time since 2002.
“Nobody should be scared. We will close the era of the ‘White Toroses’ on Nov. 1 forever,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said in a message posted on his Twitter account late on Oct. 20.
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul late on Oct. 20, the co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, refuted Davutoğlu’s statement.
“He is reminding [us of] the past. He brings up the unsolved murders and kidnappings which were carried out by use of the ‘White Toroses’. Now, I want to ask him: If ‘White Toroses’ show up again when you are gone, it means that you have protected them for 13 years. It means that you have brought no democracy to the country” Demirtaş said.