‘Struggle’ in Turkey’s southeast to go on, vows Erdoğan
CİHAN photoThe struggle against militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey’s southeast will continue, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed on Dec. 17, amid ongoing curfews and clashes in a number of urban areas in the region.
“This struggle will last there until comfort is provided. There is no stopping and it will continue with the same determination. Likewise, those who set the Kurşunlu Mosque alight will continue to pay the price,” Erdoğan said at an opening ceremony in the Central Anatolian province of Konya.
He also slammed Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ for claiming that the state set fire to the historic Kurşunlu Mosque in the central Sur district of Diyarbakır.
“One so-called co-chair comes out and says the mosque was bombed by a state helicopter. Those are unobservant people. What kind of helicopter would leave a minaret intact but burn the doors to the ground? The same mentality also praises the trenches that have made the lives of locals miserable,” Erdoğan said, referring to trenches dug by urban militants against the security forces.
Erdoğan also vowed that locals who left their homes due to curfews would return, while those who dug trenches would perish where they fought.
“Those people are being forced out of the area. But [the PKK] unashamedly says those who leave cannot return. Let me say: Those people will return. But you will perish in those houses, buildings and trenches you have dug,” he said.
The Kurşunlu Mosque, a 500-year-old mosque built during the Ottoman era, caught fire on Dec. 7 during clashes in Sur, the same district where Diyarbakır Bar Association head Tahir Elçi, along with two police officers, were killed in a shootout on Nov. 28.
During a parliamentary group meeting of her party in Ankara on Dec. 8, HDP co-chair Yüksekdağ claimed that witnesses said the mosque was bombed from helicopters.
“Who burnt the Kurşunlu Mosque? All witnesses in that street, including journalists, say one thing: The Kurşunlu Mosque was bombed from the air. The youth in the Sur neighborhood do not have helicopters. Who has helicopters? The state,” she said.