No respite in anti-PKK raids, Erdoğan declares

No respite in anti-PKK raids, Erdoğan declares

RİZE – Anatolia News Agency
No respite in anti-PKK raids, Erdoğan declares

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is seen talking with citizens in his hometown of Rize, in the Black Sea region, yesterday. DHA photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed no respite in police operations against the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) and warned that criticism of the massive investigation amounted to “support for terrorism.”

No one should expect the operations against the KCK, the alleged urban network of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), to stop, Erdoğan said yesterday during a visit to the Black Sea province of Rize.

“I’m warning once again: You have to know the KCK. The statements you make without knowing where the KCK is extending to and what roles people within it have undertaken amount to support for terrorism and service of terrorism,” Erdoğan said.

“We will not allow a parallel state structure [to be established] within the state. There is a single state in Turkey and that’s the state of the Turkish Republic,” he said. “If some call me statist or nationalist because of these remarks, then, yes, I’m statist and a nationalist. We have an obligation to speak openly about these realities.”

Erdoğan’s comments against critics of the KCK arrests followed his talks with Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, who visited Turkey last week to discuss stronger cooperation against the PKK. The latest wave of KCK arrests fuelled criticism when prominent law professor Büşra Ersanlı and renowned publisher and free speech activist Ragıp Zarakolu were arrested pending trial on charges of links to the KCK.

Referring to military operations against the PKK in Turkey and across the border in northern Iraq following the Oct. 19 killing of 24 soldiers in the eastern province of Hakkari’s Çukurca district, Erdoğan said, “We won’t stop, we’ll keep them up.”

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Erdoğan also said no one should seek to create professional competition between the police and the military. “Both our institutions are keeping up the fight against terror, hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder.”

The prime minister said the Turkish nation should stand strong against any attempt to “undermine” its unity.

“There are people who want to undermine our fraternity. We should not let this happen,” he said. “We are going to love each other. Turks are not superior to Kurds and Kurds are not superior to Turks. We reject the superiority of any ethnic identity over another.”

In further remarks, Erdoğan brushed aside criticism over the relief effort in the wake of last month’s earthquake in Van, noting that the quake victims would be provided with temporary accommodation by mid-December. The government is planning to complete the construction of new homes by the end of July, he added.