Bloodiest PKK fight in years kills dozens
The Turkish military deploys a number of tanks and other vehicles around a military post, which has been attacked by the outlawed PKK militants in Hakkari’s Çukurca district. Nearly 130 militants were killed in the ongoing operations, a minister says. DHA photo
Turkish Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin broke the government’s silence yesterday on the heaviest clashes to strike Turkey in years, announcing that 115 Kurdish militants had been killed in Hakkari and that six soldiers and two village guards had been killed in the eastern province’s Çukurca district.
The eight members of the security forces were killed late Aug. 4 in a PKK attack on military outposts in Hakkari, he said, adding that 14 PKK members, including a female suicide bomber, died in the attack.
Şahin did not give any additional information about the Turkish causalities other than noting that two soldiers had been killed as part of the operations against PKK militants, which started July 23.
“We know from the information we gathered that they determined 2012 as a final year for [the PKK]. For this reason, they sometimes resort to activities which carry a risk of death; the organized attacks both in Şemdinli and Hakkari Geçimli show that,” Şahin said.
“We know from the information we gathered that they determined 2012 as a final year for [the PKK]. For this reason, they sometimes resort to activities which carry a risk of death; the organized attacks both in Şemdinli and Hakkari Geçimli show that,” Şahin said. “But our security forces took necessary reinforcements in the region in terms of both equipment and arms, and personnel by regarding the truths of the information and experience. And they had to bear the consequences of these attacks by suffering important losses.”
Şahin’s statement came after rising criticism from the opposition parties about the lack of information about the Şemdinli clashes despite heavy propaganda activity by the PKK, which claimed to have taken the town under control. A parliamentary delegation of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had refuted the PKK claims during a visit to the town, but they had also complained that there were not being given satisfactory information.
The clashes have been some of the heaviest and bloodiest in years. The PKK has been waging an armed campaign for Kurdish autonomy for the last three decades against Turkey, leading to the deaths of more than 40,000 lives so far.
Hours before the statements of Şahin, high-ranking Turkish officials had reacted to the situation.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a written message to offer his condolences to the Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel in the wake of the Hakkari attacks. “The PKK “once again” showed its enmity to Turkey’s national and spiritual values by mounting a “dastardly” attack during the holy month of Ramadan,” Erdoğan said.
The prime minister also pointed at possible foreign actors directing the PKK’s attacks when he said Turkey was “strong enough to bring into line both the murderers controlled by the PKK and enemy countries that hold the PKK’s strings.”
“The terrorist organization has embarked on a reckless plan in the holy month of Ramadan. Our security forces have begun fighting by taking precautionary measures to avoid giving any chances [to the PKK],” President Abdullah Gül wrote on his Twitter account.