On March 16, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the columnists who want his resignation are allies of terrorists in a speech he gave today; clearly stating there won’t be any recent end to crackdown on the Turkey press. The president spoke at a meeting with muhtars in Ankara which was broadcasted live as all speeches of Erdoğan and was reported by nearly all the media organs in Turkey including the independent news website t24 and pro-government daily Yeni Şafak.
Erdoğan said there are people, including columnists, who say Turkey would be peaceful if he would resign and continued: “Some columnists and so forth are almost touching elbows with Qandil. ‘Erdoğan must go. There won’t be consistency without Erdoğan.’ Were there consistency in Turkey at the end of 2002?” After declaring those who want his resignation from politics in line with the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK); based at Qandil Mountains in Iraq, the president continued: “So, he is a columnist, stating his opinion. I am not interested in whatever you may be. You are against me if your pen is standing on the side of the terrorist. The day is the day of struggle. The day is the day to advance upon the cruel in the harshest way.”
Two days ago, Erdoğan has said he saw no difference between “a terrorist holding a gun or a bomb and those who use their position and pen to serve the aims” of terrorists after the latest suicide bombing attack in Ankara and argued the definition of the term “terrorist” should be widened; BBC has reported. Turkey has been combating the PKK since the early eighties. The decades long struggle has caused many violations of press freedom and news blackouts which only intensified in recent months since the failure of a peace process in 2015 led to urban warfare at several hot spots in Turkey.