The military took a tough line Friday against the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, leader Ahmet Türk’s Kurdish speech in Parliament earlier this week. "Everybody should act in line with the Constitution and laws," Brig. Gen. Metin Gürak, a spokesman for the military, said.

Speaking in a weekly press conference, Gürak said prosecuting those who act against the law is "natural." While strictly rejecting Kurdish speech in Parliament, the military expressed its approval of expanding cultural rights for Kurds. "The state can start some initiatives in the cultural area on the condition that it will take measures not to harm the unitary state and nation-state structure," Gürak said, referring to Kurdish broadcast over the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television, or TRT, network.

Turkey’s state television cut off its live broadcast when Türk, who began his address in Turkish, switched to Kurdish. Use of the Kurdish language was banned until 1991 under the 1980 military coup, purportedly because of attacks by terrorist PKK organization, against the Turkish army.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meanwhile said Friday that exploitation and provocation have been restarted prior to local elections, a clear reference to Türk’s speech in Parliament. "Some are disturbed by the removal of poverty, corruption and bans," Erdogan said during a party rally in Van. "They have started to plan to sabotage Turkey’s peaceful atmosphere. They exploit the emotions of Eastern people."

PKK experiences infighting

Infighting within the PKK was also on the agenda during the military press conference. "Two feuding groups clashed in Sinat-Hafta. It has been learned from different sources that approximately 20 terrorists were killed during the clash while 20 were wounded," said Gürak, who blamed the clashes on a struggle over leadership.

In regards to the establishment of the tripartite mechanism in Arbil to combat the PKK, Gürak said work is still underway to activate a bureau in the region that will act under a subcommittee’s authority. Turkey, Iraq and the United States have decided to form a joint anti-PKK unit in northern Iraq and establish a central command center in Arbil.

Gürak also dismissed speculation about a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq through Turkey’s Mersin and Iskenderun ports. "There has not been any assigned task or request conveyed to the Turkish militaryin this respect," he said. Hürriyet Daily News
28 Subat 2009