Erdoğan threatens HDP over Afrin: Whoever opposes us will be crushed

President of Turkey and Leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife Emine Erdoğan greet the crowd as they attend the AK Party's Bursa women's branch congress in Bursa, Turkey on January 21, 2018. Kayhan Ozer / Anadolu Agency

As the Turkish military enters the Kurdish-controlled Afrin region of Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday warned the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) not to take to the streets to protest the Turkish operation in Afrin, the Cumhurriyet daily reported.

“You are being closely followed. If you try to take to the streets, know that our security forces will be at your neck,” Erdoğan said, warning the HDP along with outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) members.

“If anyone is in the streets upon calls [from the HDP], they will pay dearly for it. This is a national fight, and whoever opposes us will be crushed.” Erdoğan added.

Underlining that Turkey’s goal is to return 3.5 million Syrian refugees to their homeland as soon as possible, Erdoğan said: “Afrin is 55 percent Arab and 35 percent Kurdish, who settled there recently. There are also around 6 to 7 percent Turkmens. The issue now is returning Afrin to its real owners.”

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  1. “whoever opposes us will be crushed.” Well, clearly Tayyip Erdoğan has no conception of how a democracy is supposed to work. But that picture of him and his wife is very interesting. It tends to strengthen my suspicion that he does something to the lines in his hands to make some of the lines, like the so-called ‘life’ line in ‘palmistry readings,’ appear to be longer than they are. I don’t believe in palmistry, but now I just wonder if he’s trying to discourage people from assassinating him: ‘See, I’m destined to live a very long time.’ It’s a really interesting quirk in his personality.