No more talks with PKK, vows Erdoğan

No more talks with PKK, vows Erdoğan

No more talks with PKK, vows Erdoğan

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Ankara will no longer engage in contact with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and will instead “liquidate” all PKK militants through ongoing security operations, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed.

“We know that the only goal of the separatist terror organization is to fulfil the duty it has been tasked with by its master and completing the contract it has been given,” Erdoğan said on Jan. 20.

“So in the coming period, neither the separatist terror organization, nor the party under its control, nor other structures will ever be accepted as counterpart. That affair is over,” he added, addressing a large group of neighborhood and village heads (muhtars) at a regular meeting at his presidential palace in Ankara.

“Their organization, deputies and municipalities will answer to the judiciary for what they have done. We will put the region back on its feet again, along with our nation. We will sit with our nation and our citizens after our security forces have entirely liquidated terrorists in the region and we will decide what is to be done for a radical solution to this issue. We will implement this,” Erdoğan said, referring to Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish-populated southeast, where the security forces have been waging a relentless campaign to crush PKK militants.

The government, state agencies, and military never directly cite the name of the PKK in official statements, instead describing it either as “the separatist terrorist organization” or its members as “terrorists.”

A series of judicial investigations have recently been launched against executives of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) frequently accuse of having organic links with the PKK. 

Erdoğan and the government accuse municipalities in southeastern Anatolia of acting as “logistical centers” for the PKK by using public resources to dig ditches and build barricades against security forces. They also often suggest that the PKK works as a “subcontractor” for various shady foreign powers. 

Gov’t denies talks with Öcalan or PKK heads

Just a few hours before Erdoğan’s speech at the palace, Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan denied claims that the government is conducting secret talks with the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, or any other PKK leaders, saying operations against PKK militants in east and southeast Turkey will continue. 

“Meetings with the organization [PKK] or İmralı are out of question,” Akdoğan told state-run Anadolu Agency on Jan 20. İmralı is the name of the island in which Öcalan is serving life sentence and is often used to refer to Öcalan. 

Accusing media groups close to the PKK of “disinformation and manipulation,” Akdoğan said the government’s “main paradigm has not changed in the fight against terror.” 

“Our government continues to embrace our people. Our services and investments continue. The reform process is ongoing. We should provide public order for the security of our people’s life and property. That is how we defeat the terrorist organization’s plans through our security policies. Beyond that, there are no talks with İmralı,” he said. 

The PKK’s aim of intensifying clashes in urban centers in southeastern Turkey is to impose its own hegemony by force of arms, Akdoğan also said. He claimed that the reason why the operations in response were taking so long was the “sensitivity of security forces in keeping civilians unharmed.” 

Relocation of Hakkari and Şırnak

Meanwhile, Akdoğan denied that the government’s recent decision to relocate the provincial centers of Hakkari and Şırnak are part of intensified security policies, saying it was instead part of Ankara’s plan to lend more support to the development of these cities. 

In line with this, he underlined the need for economic development of the region in the aftermath of operations as locals have suffered much “due to the terrorist organization’s oppression.”

Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş also emphasized recently that the relocation had been planned long ago, adding that a coordination group under his leadership with the participation of eight ministers has been established in order to facilitate “rehabilitation work.” 

Kurtulmuş denied claims that people living in these areas will be relocated to other cities. 

“There is no such a project to move Kurds from one city to another. Our Kurdish brothers are everywhere in Turkey. No city or region belongs solely to Kurds; our Kurdish brothers live in all 81 provinces of Turkey,” he said.