Turkish PM Erdoğan says PKK will 'drown in blood' after attacks
ANKARA — Bloomberg | 6/20/2010 12:00:00 AM |
Prime Minister Erdoğan said members of the outlawed PKK would 'drown in their own blood' after attacks blamed on the terrorist group killed 12 soldiers in the past two days.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, would “drown in their own blood” after attacks blamed on the terrorist group killed 12 soldiers in the past two days.
The escalation of violence won’t divert Turkey “a single millimeter from its goal of growth and becoming a strong and respected state,” Erdoğan said in a televised speech given at a military service to honor 11 of the dead in Van in southeast Turkey. “These treacherous attacks will not destroy our brotherhood and unity.”
Erdoğan has widened Kurdish cultural rights, seeking to end nearly three decades of conflict, by allowing television broadcasts in the Kurdish language and increasing investment in the Southeast. The increase in PKK violence reflects the group’s efforts to “sabotage the economic, social and democratic development process,” Erdoğan said in a statement Saturday.
The PKK, labeled as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, attacked a military outpost in Elazığ province with hand grenades and machine-gun fire early Sunday, killing one soldier and injuring another, the state news agency Anatolia reported. In Hakkari province, troops searching the Iraqi border region for PKK gunmen who had killed eight soldiers Saturday found the body of a soldier who had lost contact with his unit, it said. On Saturday two other soldiers died from a mine explosion that authorities attributed to the PKK.
Opposition parties blamed Erdoğan’s policy of wider cultural rights for the violence. Nationalist leader Devlet Bahçeli called for the return of martial law in the Southeast and said Erdoğan must end his “surrender to ethnic separatism.”
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the main opposition party, said the government had “weakened” the fight against the PKK.
The army on June 18 warned of an increase in attacks from the PKK. The organization on June 1 decided to increase attacks because Turkey is ignoring its demands for constitutionally recognized autonomy, Gen. Fahri Kir told reporters in Ankara.