Not Kurds, terrorists are bombed, says Turkish PM

Not Kurds, terrorists are bombed, says Turkish PM

Not Kurds, terrorists are bombed, says Turkish PM

AA photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sought to distinguish between Kurdish people and militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), claiming that his army was only bombing “terrorists,” not ordinary Kurds.

“We have opened our hearts to our Kurdish brothers. We are sending bombs to terrorists. Our fight against the terror will continue today and tomorrow,” Erdoğan said in his address to his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group on Jan. 22. “It is not true [that we are bombing Kurds].”

Erdoğan was responding to the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) criticism after the Turkish Armed Forces started an operation against the PKK following the killing of a police officer in a gun attack by suspected members of the PKK on Jan. 16 in Mardin. Six PKK militants were killed in the southeastern province on Jan. 22.

Independent deputy and head of Kurdish umbrella group Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Ahmet Türk and BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş recently said discussing peace was impossible while military operations against PKK militants were continuing.

Speaking at the funeral ceremony of three female PKK members murdered in Paris on Jan. 10, Türk said: “Mr. Prime Minister, how can you talk about peace while Kandil [where PKK militants are based] is being bombarded? What kind of peace is being sought with this?”

The “peace process,” or “İmralı process,” refers to recent talks involving jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence on İmralı island prison. On Jan. 3, BDP deputy Ayla Akat and Türk were allowed to visit Öcalan. Criticizing military operations against the PKK is not fair while PKK militants are killing police officers, Erdoğan said. “We expect the BDP not to side with those who kill. ... They are defending terrorists’ right to kill,” Erdoğan said.

The premier also slammed the BDP for not having its “own will” in the peace process, implying that the party was taking orders from the PKK. “If you are going to do politics, do it with your own will. What are you [if you wait for] orders to come from somewhere else?” said Erdoğan, referring to the BDP’s ties with the PKK.

‘Not expecting favor’

Demirtaş, in response, advised Erdoğan to look into the language he has been using and said “they were not expecting a favor from the prime minister.”

“If we had been using a language similar to that of the prime minister over the last 10 days, then we would have already been crucified by the media,” he said. “Mr. Prime Minister, will you recognize the Kurdish people as a community? We are all brothers, that’s right. But will you accept the [status] of Kurdish people?” Demirtaş asked.