Only solution is to destroy PKK: Erdoğan

Only solution is to destroy PKK: Erdoğan

Only solution is to destroy PKK: Erdoğan

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All political attempts to end the three-decade-long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are now things of the past, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, vowing that ongoing joint military-police operations are the only way to “root the terrorist organization out of Turkey and the region.”

“We cannot stop ongoing grievances without rooting out the terror organization, which is operating only to kill ... along with its all figures and supporters, from the region and our country,” Erdoğan said on April 19 at a gathering of village and neighborhood chiefs at his presidential palace.

“If you are looking for a resolution, here is the resolution. When we root out the terror organization, without its smallest trace remaining, from these territories, then we will have put the resolution into practice,” he added. 

The April 19 meeting was the 24th regular meeting held with local chiefs since late January 2015. 

“The point at which we have arrived is in the open. We have suffered many losses due to terrorism. More than 40,000 of our people have unfortunately been victims of terror in these lands for 35 years,” Erdoğan said.

Since the PKK took up arms against the state in 1984, more than 40,000 people have been killed in conflict, including civilians, national security forces, PKK members and village guards operating in towns and villages in eastern and southeastern Turkey where PKK fighters are most active.

The southeast has in recent months been hit by the worst violence in years, after a fragile peace process and two-and-a-half-year de facto cease-fire shattered in July 2015. Thousands of militants and hundreds of civilians and soldiers have been killed since then.

A government-led initiative dubbed the “resolution process” by government officials placed the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as a central player of the negotiations, which began in late 2012. Öcalan had been in dialogue with state officials, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and its predecessor, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

“First, we said ‘Democratic Initiative’ but that didn’t work. Then we said ‘National Unity and Fraternity [Project]” but that was also exploited and it didn’t work. From now on, all of these have been put away. We said we put the Resolution Process ‘in the refrigerator.’ Now is the period of operations. What will happen during this period of operations? This issue will be resolved. This issue will end because nobody has the right to target the serenity of the nation,” Erdoğan said.