Delay in ops caused slow progress in Nusaybin, officials claim

Delay in ops caused slow progress in Nusaybin, officials claim

Uğur Ergan – ANKARA
Delay in ops caused slow progress in Nusaybin, officials claim

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Operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Nusaybin district are progressing slower than expected because the local governor’s office disallowed operation requests in September 2015, delaying the necessary response to a PKK build-up, security officials have said. 

Security units, led by the special operations police, had made six requests to the Mardin Governor’s Office to conduct anti-terror operations in September 2015, but all their appeals were denied, security sources told daily Hürriyet. 

“If these permissions had been granted, [operations in] Nusaybin would not last as long,” sources said, claiming the concrete barricades and large trenches constructed by the PKK were prepared during that period of inaction. 

“The organization [PKK] is well-settled in the region because no operations were conducted,” sources said. Hürriyet could not confirm these allegations, as Mardin Gov. Ömer Faruk Koçak, who was appointed to his post in February 2015, was unavailable to comment. 

However, reports claimed the allegations of inaction were also discussed during a meeting between Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) deputies from the region, as Orhan Miroğlu, an AKP deputy from Mardin, had reportedly complained of a PKK build-up in Nusaybin. 

Miroğlu allegedly informed Davutoğlu the PKK was easily able to dig trenches, construct concrete barricades and gather militants from both around the region and the Kandil Mountains, where the outlawed organization is based, to Nusaybin. 

According to reports, the primary struggle of security personnel in the region is removing the concrete barricades, which prevent their progress. Sources indicated the barricades were strengthened with steel plates, improvised explosive devices and thousands of nails, further slowing the process. 

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) announced in early March that it would sue the AKP government for “supporting terrorism,” claiming it had ordered governors to refrain from conducting operations against the PKK. 

“Turkey is now a lake of blood today. They ordered governors: ‘Do not touch terrorists.’ They made the east and the southeast warehouses of weapons. We hear news of soldiers’ deaths every day,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on March 4, stressing there was no terrorism when the AKP came to power in 2002. 

Some 5,359 PKK militants have so far been killed, detained or wounded in anti-terror operations since July 22, 2015, while some 355 security personnel have lost their lives in terror attacks over the same period, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on March 28.  Meanwhile the total number of militants killed in Nusaybin, where operations began some two weeks ago, stood at around 123.