No retreat in anti-PKK ops, Erdoğan declares

No retreat in anti-PKK ops, Erdoğan declares

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
No retreat in anti-PKK ops, Erdoğan declares

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. REUTERS photo

Turkey’s prime minister has vowed no letup in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) while also pledging to “learn lessons” from last week’s mistaken killing of 35 villagers assumed to be militants from the group. “The struggle against terrorism will continue with determination,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday in his first speech to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group since his Nov. 26 surgery.

“The terrorists will be rendered ineffective wherever they are, be it in the mountains, in the country or across the border,” he said. “While doing this we will show utmost care not to harm civilians. We will learn lessons from the mistakes and heal the wounds, but we will never allow neither the terrorists nor their extensions to act as they will.” He also said an investigation was under way “into each and every detail” of the incident, but did not elaborate.

Erdoğan vented anger at the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in response to its criticism of the government over the Dec. 28 air raid.

In the raid that took place in the southeastern province of Şırnak’s Uludere district, a group of smugglers, mostly teenagers, were killed after being misidentified as PKK militants.

“To present this as a state bombing its people is nothing more than an effort to destroy the unity between state and nation. Those who even classify funerals as either Turkish or Kurdish are those who are following the path of the devil,” Erdoğan said.

Without naming the party, Erdoğan called the BDP “vampires feeding on youths’ blood” and said its leaders “cannot go even to the toilet if their armed masters do not loosen their leashes,” referring to the PKK. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

“Unfortunately, unwanted losses occur in the environment of terror. Have you ever blamed the terrorist organization for that and told it that enough is enough?” Erdoğan said. “This nation will not bow down to this malign tumor. Your seeds of discord will never take root on this soil.” The AKP also plans to draft a law that would classify Molotov cocktails, a fixture at Kurdish anti-government demonstrations, as weapons, he said.

Turning to the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Erdoğan said its rhetoric over the civilian deaths resembled that of the BDP and the PKK and denounced the main opposition as “irresponsible and opportunist.” He also slammed portions of the media for allegedly manipulating the incident.