Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke at the meeting of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Group on Wednesday (21 March). The meeting had been postponed due to the funearl ceremonies of Turkish soldiers who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
bianet summarized the Prime Minister's statements on the Newroz celebrations, the media and the government's new regulations for relatives of soldiers and civilians who died or became invalid on anti-terror duties.
First of all, Erdoğan referred to this year's Newroz celebrations on 20 March that were accompanied by massive police violence.
"Security forces opened fire due to yesterday's illegal demonstrations. As a result, three police officers in Yüksekova and two in Cizre were wounded. Unfortunately, our police brother Ahmet Toprakoğlu was killed on duty".
"Sir, why were these celebrations not allowed on Sunday as requested; why was permission denied, be it for three or four days. I am addressing even the gentlemen who reflected what happened in their columns. Why don't you think that we obtained news that you were not able to get? This incites us inevitably to move more cautiously".
"Are you deaf?"
"Did you hear the statement of one of the terrorist leaders who said 'We will turn it into a bloodbath'? Do you have ears, are you deaf? Did you not see what was done there on Sunday? How long will you make common cause with those who endeavour to turn an easeful country into a restless country?"
"Sirs, of course you are comfortable in the corner of your columns. Because you receive invitations from the mountains [PKK] and from the island [İmralı]. Is that why you are you writing those articles? You are quite well connected, bravo. Your source is there it seems".
"It is significant that the painful events in Afghanistan occurred right before the Çanakkale Naval Victory. We believe with all our heart that the martyrs* are not dead but alive (...)".
"We established a department that directly takes care of the families of martyrs and veterans. We are now changing 20 articles of various laws and decree laws related to the widows and fatherless children of the martyrs".
"(...) Real estate grants for relatives of martyrs and veterans will be set off against tax liability. We are renewing conditions to benefit from free public transport all over the country. All children of our martyrs and veterans will benefit from that. The free use will be independent of social security. We provide interest-free housing loans for temporary village guards, privates and non-commissioned officers within the scope of the Anti-Terror Law".
"Patient care support for our invalid veterans will be extended to cover also village guards and civilians. Patient care support will be doubled from the amount of one minimum wage to two minimum wages. Public personnel and civilians who were injured on anti-terror duties will receive all kind of health services. We extend special operations and operation compensation for ongoing medical treatment of personnel from 12 to 24 months".
"(...) We are widening the definition of martyrs and veterans. We are also including accidents that happened on the grounds of terror events or occurred on the way to and from duty. Also road safety in traffic and events occurring on duty during the transfer of detainees will be covered".
Civilians will be accounted for as "martyrs"
"We are including civilians who died in terror events into the category of martyrs. Civilians who become invalid of die by reason of a terror event and their relatives will receive compensation and a monthly allowance. For example, Mizgin and Hatice who became martyrs in Batman and in Bingöl will be accounted for as martyrs by law".
"I will now come to the two most important regulations. In the present situation, one person from the family or a child has the right to employment. We are increasing the right to employment to two, one of them being the spouse or child and the other one from the remaining family. The allowance paid to the parents was dependant on the condition of indigence. We abolish that. Documents on invalidity and indigence are not required any more. May God not give the pain of losing a child or a brother to anybody". (IC)
In Turkish language, the word "martyr" is being used for those who died on active duty.