Dağlıca attackers to pay heavily: Turkey's Erdoğan
AA photoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed a punishing response after the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) killed a large number of soldiers in an ambush in the southeastern province of Hakkari on Sept. 6.
“We should know after tonight’s [Sept. 6] incident for sure that we have martyrs and there will probably be more, but we are making and also will make them pay for this heavily,” Erdoğan told private broadcaster A Haber late on Sept. 6, in a televised interview.
“Some 2,000 terrorists have been killed up until today. Operations will continue no matter what people say. We will continue this struggle until the end,” he added.
16 Turkish soldiers were killed on Sept. 6 in a major attack by PKK militants in Hakkari’s Dağlıca town, which marked a crescendo in a deadly stream of attacks since July.
Erdoğan said the PKK used the collapsed peace process to “betray the country by stockpiling arms.”
“They [PKK] evaluated the peace process with treason. They [PKK] used the peace process as a period to stockpile arms for themselves in the southeast and partially in the east. They [PKK] did some serious arms stockpiling,” Erdoğan said.
He stated Turkish security forces had vowed “not to engage in any kind of clashes” during the peace process but they had later understood the PKK had exploited the period simply as a means to stockpile arms.
Erdoğan’s remarks came in response to questions about why attacks began after the June 7 parliamentary election, as it had been quiet and peaceful while the peace process was continuing before the polls.
The PKK has blamed the government for ending the cease-fire, accusing it of constructing fortified security installations and dams that destroy the environment in the southeast. Hostilities began after a July 20 suicide bombing in Suruç killed 33 left-wing activists, with the PKK blaming the state for the attack.
On the morning of Sept. 7, a written statement signed by Erdoğan condemning the terror attack and saying such attempts would never achieve the outlawed group’s goals was issued by the presidential media center.
“Such attacks, which aim at our nation’s unity and solidarity, brotherhood and future, will never achieve their goal,” read the statement.
PM Davutoğlu urges unity
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called on the people of Turkey to preserve their unity in the face of terrorist attacks, which he said were aimed at creating a division between the people and their state.
Davutoğlu described the attack as part of “a significant challenge” that Turkey has been facing, as all countries in critical locations do in their history.
“My words are for terrorist circles that are the center of this black propaganda,” Davutoğlu said. “No matter what you do, you will not be able to dissuade us on our determination in the fight against terrorism,” he added, reiterating his well-known argument that Turkey has been subject to a coordinated wave of attacks by the PKK, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) since the June 7 parliamentary elections.
“As I said and we decided on July 23 when dealing with measures that we would take against simultaneous attacks by the three terrorist organizations, those mountains will be cleansed of those terrorists. No matter what, they will be cleansed. The mountains, plains and cities of this country will not be abandoned to the terrorists,” Davutoğlu said.
The prime minister of the interim government also ruled out a postponement of the snap elections scheduled for Nov. 1, saying, “The elections will be held within normal and legal conditions.”