Russia’s human rights preaching on PKK operations nothing but ‘dark humor’: Ankara
ANKARAThe Turkish Foreign Ministry has criticized a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry calling on Ankara to resolve the Kurdish issue by political means rather than by force, describing the statement as “an example of dark humor.”
“For a country whose record on democracy, the rule of law, and human rights is very well known by everyone, which has caused indignation with its acts in neighboring countries such as Ukraine and Georgia by violating international law, which has provided political and military support to crimes against humanity by the bloody-handed dictator in Syria, and which actively launched campaigns leading to the death of hundreds of civilians, giving a human rights lecture to others is only an example of dark humor,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said on Dec. 31.
The statement came in the form of an official answer to a reporter’s question about the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement.
A Dec. 30 statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry called on the Turkish government “to take the necessary steps to ensure the cessation of violence as soon as possible and resume the peace settlement process that was interrupted in July 2015,” Russian news agency TASS reported.
“We are watching with concern the escalation of violence in southeastern Turkey caused by the ongoing military operation of the Turkish authorities in the Kurdish-populated provinces of the country. Human rights organizations have reported numerous casualties among the civilian population, including women and children,” TASS quoted the statement as saying.
Tensions are running high in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, which has been rocked by curfews imposed on several towns where the security forces have been battling militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) says more than 200 PKK militants have been killed in the current campaign in the southeast that started earlier in December, particularly centered in the provinces of Şırnak and Diyarbakır.
Moscow and Ankara have been locked in a bitter spat since the downing of a Russian jet by Turkish forces on Nov. 24, with the Kremlin imposing a raft of economic sanctions against Turkey.