No deadline in ongoing operations against PKK, Davutoğlu says
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu delivers a speech to close a two-day convention of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the inner Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar. AA PhotoTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has ruled out setting any deadline for the completion of ongoing military operations in Southeast Anatolia against alleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), stating that such a deadline could only be set when “violence and terror end.”
“We are experiencing a period during which we have been attentive to the unity and integrity of Turkey more than ever. They are waiting for Turkey to stumble. God willing, we will foil these scenarios,” Davutoğlu said Jan. 10 while delivering a speech to close a two-day convention of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the inner Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar.
“Nobody should resort to ‘time engineering’ by setting deadlines and dates,” Davutoğlu said.
“We have been working day and night to successfully complete these operations as soon as possible. We define ‘the deadline’ not by time, but by goals that we need to reach. We are continuing to conduct the counterterrorism fight with a great determination until each side street of our cities become side streets where people can safely walk around. Nobody should think that this operation of serenity and democracy will be called to a halt,” he said.
Violence between the security forces and alleged militants of the PKK reignited in summer 2015, shattering a fragile peace process and a two-and-a-half-year de facto period of non-conflict.
Amid military operations and curfews since early December 2015, according to figures released by the Turkish General Staff over the weekend, a total of 448 militants have been killed in ongoing operations in the towns of Cizre and Silopi, near the Syrian and Iraqi borders, and Diyarbakir’s Sur neighborhood. All three areas have been subjected to 24-hour curfews and security operations since last month.
Also over the weekend, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) said 32 children, 29 women and 24 elderly people were among the civilians killed in the three localities.
In a report published on Jan. 10, Turkish daily Habertürk quoted anonymous sources that referred to Davutoğlu’s remarks allegedly delivered at a meeting with lawmakers from East and Southeast Anatolia during their gathering in Afyonkarahisar.
“Operations will be completed within one week, bans will be lifted,” Davutoğlu was quoted as saying.
Yet, in his closing speech, the prime minister made clear that no deadline had been set for operations.
“God willing, along with our nation and with our citizens in the region, we will finish what we have started. Sooner or later, we will definitely be successful. Those who draft disaster scenarios and those butchers who slaughter human lives and who hand over weapons to children will not be able to come between our citizens and our state,” Davutoğlu said, while also pledging that the government has been respecting the rights of each and every citizen, regardless of whether they are Turkish or Kurdish.
“We will not be and will not be with anybody who makes discrimination by saying Turkish, Kurdish,” he said. “Those who compare the 1990s with these days should know that we will distinguish between the people and the terrorists and we will fight against the terrorists in the most resolute struggle,” he said.