President Erdogan vows anti-terror fight will endure in 2016
DHA photoTurkey’s fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will be carried on in 2016 with determination, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed, claiming that 3,100 militants have been killed so far by security forces in one of the most intensified military campaigns in the last three decades.
“The Republic of Turkey has the resources and determination to overcome the separatist terrorist organization. Our security forces are continuing to cleanse terrorists both from mountains and the cities and they will continue to do so,” Erdoğan said in his New Year message issued yesterday.
Erdoğan added that the number of killed militants had reached 3,100 in operations inside and outside the country throughout the year, which would be one of the highest rates of attrition for years.
The collapse of a political process aiming at resolving the decades-old Kurdish question resulted in the resumption of clashes between security forces and militants in recent months. The PKK militants have carried the clashes to cities by digging trenches and erecting roadblocks in cities in an effort to keep security forces out.
As part of the measures taken, long-term curfews have been declared in districts such as Sur, Cizre and Silopi, and militray operations were launched, resulting in numerous deaths, including civilians and security forces.
Without naming any country, Erdoğan said the PKK had become a puppet for all countries and dark institutions that nurture enmity toward Turkey.
Turkey has no territorial ambitions
In an apparent reference to a row with Baghdad over the deployment of Turkish troops to Mosul in northern Iraq, Erdoğan said Turkey had no territorial ambitions in any other country and did not question the sovereignty of its neighbors.
“Our country does not have eyes on any country’s soil or sovereignty. We only want the people of the region, who are historically and culturally our brothers, to live in peace and security. Turkey is not responsible for the developments in Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Palestine as well as in Syria. We have no other aim than the security and peace of our brothers living in the region, and will not have,” he said.
Erdoğan added that the country currently hosts a total of 2.5 million people who have migrated from Syria and other part of the region as the civil war in Syria enters its fifth year.
The president also touched on the Nov. 24, 2015, downing of a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, saying Turkey had never favored tension.
“The tension on the Syrian border for a while resulted in the downing of an unknown jet which disregarded warnings and violated our airspace. We, as Turkey, have never favored tension. However, we could not have tolerated the violation of our sovereign rights in a region where tension is at the highest level,” Erdoğan said.