Turkey will continue its operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) until every last militant is “liquidated,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday in his first public speech since the Nov. 1 elections.
“Our people should not worry. Tomorrow will be better than today. Operations against the terror organization inside the country and outside will continue,” Erdogan said Wednesday from the Turkish presidential palace in Ankara. “We will continue these operations until we crush all the terror organization’s structures in the cities.”
The government restarted a decades-long conflict with the PKK in July, in what some say is an attempt by the government to unleash instability in the country to attract votes for the November snap elections from the nationalist MHP party, which has traditionally rejected any peace initiatives with the PKK or the Kurds.
Erdogan also said that Turkey's Parliament should prioritize discussions on a new constitution, adding that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu would consult opposition leaders on rewriting the constitution. If those negotiations failed, Erdogan said he would back a decision to consult the electorate on the issue, hinting that a referendum could take place over constitutional issues including the presidential system.
Over the past few years, Erdogan, founder of the ruling AK, or Justice and Development, Party, has repeatedly made clear his desire for a constitutional change to bring in an executive presidency and expand his powers.
Erodgan's comments were echoed earlier by his spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin, who said a referendum could take place as the issue of presidential system should be put up for debate among the population.
“In the case of such an important issue, this debate cannot be considered apart from the nation. One would go to a referendum if the mechanism is so,” Kalın told reporters at a press conference on Nov. 4.
The AKP won 49 percent of the vote in the Nov. 1 snap elections, securing 314 seats and regaining a majority in Parliament needed for forming a single-party government. However, in order to call for a referendum, 330 out of 550 seats in Parliament are needed. Some speculate that the AKP could initiate consultations with opposition parties over a possible referendum.