Minister accuses Syria of ‘taking revenge’ on Turkey
ANKARA / ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
DHA photoIrked by Ankara’s support for the Syrian uprising, Damascus is seeking to “take revenge on Turkey” by letting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) boost its presence in areas along the Turkish border, Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin has said.
“We have determined new cells of terrorist organization in the Hatay region that were not there last year,” Şahin said in an interview with the private NTV on Wednesday. Three officers were killed by the PKK last week in the rural areas around Hatay, a southern town on the border with Syria.
Şahin said he believed the Syrian administration was tolerating the PKK’s increasing presence along Turkish border and even getting control of some towns in northern Syria. Recalling that a total of 20 terrorists had been caught recently trying to filter into Turkey, Şahin said terrorists could not enter Turkish territories thanks to precautions taken on the border.
Slamming Damascus for pursuing cheap politics against Turkey, he also said the Turkish government was still continuing providing electricity and water to Syria.
Commanders ordered air raid in Uludere
Air Force commanders were responsible for ordering a botched air raid that killed 34 civilians in December 2011 in the southeastern province of Şırnak’s Uludere district, Turkish Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin said today, weighing into a debate about who called in the strike.
The force will act more carefully in future operations after "having experienced this incident," he told private broadcaster NTV in an interview.
The minister said "it appeared" that Air Force commanders who viewed the footage from an unmanned aerial vehicle ordered the air raid on a group of smugglers who were mistaken for members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), killing 34 civilians.
The smugglers would have stood trial for their illicit trading activities if they had not been killed in the raid, Şahin said.
"Smugglers in the area are not limited to 34 of our people who were killed. That area, all the way to Kandil Mountains [in northern Iraq], is under the control of the PKK," Şahin said.
"Smuggling is one of the PKK's financial sources. The people who were killed in the incident were simply pawns. We need to find the main actors behind them," Şahin said.