Ankara, July 29 () - Parliament must strip the immunity from prosecution of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers and make them “pay the price” for links to “terrorist groups,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan has said as the government increases its attacks on the Kurdish movement.
“Those who exploit the people and the state’s tolerance and patience will receive the answer they deserve as soon as possible. Any step back is out of the question. This is a process and this process will continue with the same determination” he said July 28 prior to a visit to China.
The president, however, claimed he rejected the closing of any political party, suggesting that politicians should be the object of the cases, not legal entities.
The president has said Ankara could not continue the Kurdish peace process amid continuing attacks against Turkish targets that have come in response to the government’s alleged complicity in crimes by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), especially after last week’s suicide attack in Suruç that killed 31 members of a socialist youth group.
“It is not possible to carry on the peace process with those who target our national unity and brotherhood” he said.
But the given rights for 78 million Turkish nationals were abiding, he said, adding it was “not possible” to take them back.
The Turkish government was “sincere” on the peace process, but the process has been “exploited.”
The president pledged the continuation of domestic and cross-border operations against “terror groups” and underlined it was time to put into practice the legislation on security issues which was recently adopted by parliament.
He also voiced hope that NATO, which held an emergency meeting on July 28, would take the necessary steps. “Turkey will use whatever rights stemming from international law until the very end” to protect itself from attacks, he added.
Erdoğan also said a “secure zone” in northern Syria, which Turkey and the United States have spoken about establishing, free of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) elements would help the return of 1.7 million refugees taking shelter in Turkey.
“The clearance of those regions and the creation of a safe zone there will lay the ground for 1.7 [million Syrian] citizens here to return home” he said.
Turkey was open to an improved bid from its preferred bidder, China, in a long-range missile defense system tender, he also said.
China initially offered the most appropriate proposal, but later developments have caused “impediments” he said.
“We’ll discuss these issues again during this visit. Any offer that will enrich this appropriate proposal will be welcomed by us” he stated.
NATO member Turkey chose China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp. in 2013 as the preferred candidate for the $3.4 billion deal, prompting U.S. and Western concerns about security and the compatibility of the weaponry with NATO’s systems.