ISTANBUL / ANKARA
President Gül calls on Turkey to separate the Kurdish issue from terrorism while asking Kurds to distance themselves from militancy
Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel (L) cries over the military funeral ceremony was held in the eastern province of Van yesterday for eight soldiers who were killed. AA photo
Turkish people should distinguish the Kurdish question from the terror problem, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül has said, urging Kurdish citizens to put a distance between themselves and terror, in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack killing eight troops in Hakkari.
The Turkish military has launched a massive operation in the region with the participation of 4,000 troops, to blockade nearly 300 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK) terrorists, of whom 26 have been neutralized, the army said.
“The problems of our people are issues we can solve by ourselves by talking, and there is progress in this matter. The Kurdish issue that we are discussing in the country is very much different from the terror problem. Terrorists are used as tools by these people today, by those people tomorrow. They were the tools of somebody else yesterday,” Gül told reporters in Istanbul, a day after outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK) killed eight troops in Dağlıca province of Hakkari on the Iraqi border.
Gül’s statement came after Dağlıca attack sparked fresh debate over how to handle the Kurdish problem, either through dialogue and politics or by intensifying military options. “All of my citizens in the region, my Kurdish citizens should put a distance between themselves and terror, terrorists,” he stated. No compromise
Recalling that the country would never give compromises to terror, Gül said Tuesday’s attack was not accidental, given the developments in the region. In a statement posted on its website late Wednesday, the Chief of General Staff announced that 26 terrorists were killed and one was caught alive as a result of military’s operations in the region.
Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz also confirmed that operations have been carried out, speaking to reporters yesterday. Underlining that the PKK
had suffered many casualties during the operations, he said, “The place where the attack took place is very close to Iraqi border. They are coming from Iraq and returning to Iraq after the attack. This attack has proved that the terror organization will not be successful. They will face more casualties in future attacks.”
Also speaking to media, deputy PMBülent Arınç said the issue would be analyzed in-depth in the upcoming National Security Council (MGK) meeting, slated for June 28, and that senior government and military officials had already reviewed the situation in a meeting held Tuesday. “The intelligence reports and information we have gathered indicate that the terror organization will continue its attacks, including assassinations against individuals,” Arınç said.