Turkey at breaking point in terror fight, still has much to do: Erdoğan
ANKARAPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the security operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have reached a breaking point, adding there was however still much to be done.
“As a result of the operations, the point we’ve reached is the breaking point. The operations were completed in 11 districts and one province, but the duty is not done, we’re continuing,” Erdoğan told soldiers during an iftar dinner in the southeastern province of Mardin on June 14, as he paid a visit to the 70th Mechanized Infantry Brigade Command.
“He have a lot to do and we need to finish them,” Erdoğan also said, adding that very serious operations have been waged since July 20, 2015, against the PKK’s efforts to “exist in the country that it tries to divide.”
Erdoğan also mentioned the people returning to their homes after the end of the operations, saying they would not allow any wrongdoing in the process.
“As we are finishing the operations, we will provide the citizens who were kicked out and ran away from the southeast to return via constructing and rejuvenating [the region],” he said.
Erdoğan said deeming the people living in Turkey’s southeast as “the enemies of the homeland” would be unfair, adding there were citizens in the region who would sacrifice all for the country.
“There are people among the residents of the southeast who can sacrifice and put forward all that they have for the country. Aren’t there people in the West who betray their countries? There are. If we evaluate it this way we would be making a mistake,” he said, while adding that they wouldn’t tolerate the ones trying to “divide the country.”
“We were very careful with four things since the beginning. We said ‘one nation.’ This country consists of one nation with 79 million citizens. Secondly, we said ‘one flag.’ They will vanish with their scraps that they confront our flag with, but we started and will continue by saying, ‘what makes flags is the blood on them. The soil is a country if someone dies for it.’ And that’s why we said ‘one country,’” Erdoğan added.
During the iftar dinner, Erdoğan said that approximately 8,000 PKK militants have been killed in the operations inside and outside Turkey, while adding that more than 500 soldiers were killed in the same time period.
Erdoğan, who was accompanied by high-ranking soldiers including Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, also thanked the soldiers, the police and the village guards for their efforts in the security operations and voiced his wish for “peaceful times” in the region.