Danger closer, extreme measures taken: Erdoğan
ISTANBUL (AA)A number of neighborhoods on Turkey’s border with Syria were evacuated on Oct. 5, only one day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned of the danger of jihadist militants approaching the Turkish border.
“What is happening in Kobane today will maybe happen in Haseki [another Syrian town by the border], or at a place closer to our border,” Erdoğan told journalists after offering his Eid al-Adha prayer in Istanbul on Oct. 4.
“As you know, our borders are under threat, we are seeing all this. Therefore we, as the Turkish Republic, have taken all measures at the top levels against all these developments,” he added.
Erdoğan also stressed that both the killers and those who are killed in Syria and Iraq are Muslims. “It is unbearable that people are killing and being killed under cries of Allahu Akbar [God is great],” he said.
Clashes between the ISIL militants and Kurdish militants in the town of Kobane, across the border from the Turkish town of Suruç, intensified over the weekend with one mortar bomb across the border hitting a house the Büyük Kendirci neighborhood, only two kilometers from the Turkish-Syrian border.
PKK, ISIL same for Turkey
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are the same for Turkey, Erdoğan also said.
"It is wrong to consider them in different ways ... We need to handle them all together on a common ground," Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also said that the PKK tries to manipulate the tense situation on the border, as Kurdish refugees flee from the Syrian border town of Kobane, where ISIL launched a fresh offensive last week.
Around 160,000 Kurdish refugees took shelter in Turkey, according to Ankara, since the country opened its border on September 19. The ISIL, which controls vast areas of Iraq and Syria, has launched several attacks near the Turkish border.
The Kurdistan Workers' Party is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as by the U.S. and the European Union. Turkey has launched what is publicly known as "the solution process" to end a decades old conflict with the PKK, which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people.
"For us, the solution process has not been broken. Those who try to prevent the solution process will pay it dearly. Isn't eastern Anatolia as valuable as Kobane for you [PKK]? Aren't you the ones who kidnapped your citizens to the mountains?" Erdoğan asked.
"Because of these people [PKK], we can't finish the construction of an airport in [the southeastern province] of Hakkari. A contractor arrives in and they threaten him. They are defending Kobane, but why they can't defend our country's east?" he added.