Deputy PM rules out foreign intel in air raid
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey is nearing the end on the issue of terror, according to Beşir Atalay.Hürriyet photoDeputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay has denied suggestions that intelligence supplied by unmanned U.S. aircraft led to the mistaken bombing of civilians on the Iraqi border last month.
“There was intelligence about activity at the border, but we know that no pinpoint intelligence was given that led to the operation in this incident. Claims about foreign intelligence are also inaccurate,” Atalay told the TGRT television channel in reference to the Dec. 28, 2011, air raid near Uludere in which 34 civilians were killed.
Amid lingering questions over how the botched raid unfolded, main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has suggested that the intelligence identifying the victims as Kurdish militants could have been supplied by U.S. Predator aircraft or Israeli-made Heron drones on which the Turkish military relies in its fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has rejected responsibility for the blunder.
Progress made in fight against the PKK
Atalay said Turkey’s struggle against the PKK was making progress and coming closer to a definitive success.
“Turkey is nearing the end on the issue of terror. We must think in a broader, long-term framework, without looking at temporary … developments. We are considering just and lasting solutions [but] as long as there are people with guns, the security aspect will be always at the forefront,” he said.
Atalay reported that more and more militants were turning themselves in and that the PKK was resorting to oppressive measures to prevent people from surrendering. “The terrorist organization has created a punishment mechanism, a prison atmosphere, within itself,” he said.
Atalay yesterday chaired a meeting of the Anti-Terror Coordination Board to review the latest developments. Senior military officials, MİT chairman Hakan Fidan, national police chief Mehmet Kılıçlar, the Foreign Ministry and public order undersecretaries Feridun Sinirlioğlu and Murat Özçelik also took part in the meeting.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.