Turkish FM criticizes some countries over ‘silence’ toward recent PKK attack on Turkish nationals
Some countries that claim to be fighting terrorism are either silent over the PKK group’s execution of 13 Turkish citizens in Northern Iraq or they are trying to slur over it, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Feb. 15.
“Countries that claim to be combatting terrorism are either silent toward this massacre by the PKK or are trying to slur over it with ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’,” Çavuşoğlu said, speaking at the opening of a new building for the Ethiopian Embassy in Ankara.
The minister vowed to take revenge for the citizens executed by the PKK in the Gara region during Turkey’s recent Operation Claw-Eagle 2 on Feb. 10 into Northern Iraq.
Turkey will continue undeterred in its fight against terrorist organizations both in the country and abroad, he said.
He also said the country would continue to support Ethiopia and other African countries in their fight against terrorism as well.
“Unlike many Western countries, we never applied double standards and never acted in hypocrisy,” said the minister.
In a separate statement, the Turkish foreign minister strongly criticized Western countries over their “double standards” and “selective approach” toward terrorism.
“Western world’s double standard on terrorism and its selective approach about ‘good terrorist’ and ‘bad terrorist’ continue,” said Çavuşoğlu on Twitter, using the hashtags #PKKisaHeinousTerroristOrganisation and #PKKExecutesCivilians.
Turkey bid farewell on Feb. 15 to the citizens abducted and executed by the PKK terrorist organization in northern Iraq’s Gara region.
A somber military ceremony was held for the citizens, who were shot at point-blank range in a cave where they were held for a while, in various provinces of the country.
The ceremonies were followed by funeral prayers for eight of the security personnel and civilians who were laid to rest in their hometowns.
Among them are police officers Sedat Yabalak and Vedat Kaya, Sgt. Hüseyin Sarı, Sr. Sgt. Semih Özbey, Gendarmerie Pte. Süleyman Sungur, Specialized Sgt. Mevlüt Kahveci and two civilians, Muhammet Salih Kanca and Aydın Köse.
The bodies of two military personnel, Sgt. Ümit Gıcır and Gendarmerie Pte. Sedat Songur, whose identities were known later, were also buried in Balıkesir and Siirt provinces.
The country’s top political and military leaders joined thousands of mourners in those provinces to honor the dead.
The bodies of the other two citizens, Müslüm Altıntaş and Adil Kabaklı, were flown on Feb. 15 to the southern province of Gaziantep for burial.
One of the executed citizens is yet to be identified in an autopsy, which is being carried out in the eastern province of Malatya.
Most of the citizens were forcibly abducted by the terror group while they were traveling within Turkey.
The abducted citizens were moved across various locations in northern Iraq for about six years and eventually were brought to a PKK prison in the Gara region.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar earlier said a total of 48 PKK terrorists - including two senior operatives - were neutralized as part of Turkey's military operation against a PKK hideout in Gara.
Turkish authorities use “neutralized” to imply that the terrorists in question surrendered, or were killed or captured.
The bodies of the citizens were found in the cave which was captured following intense clashes, according to Akar.
PKK terrorists often use northern Iraq as a base to plan cross-border terrorist attacks on Turkey.
World condoles with Turkey
Turkey received messages of condolence from around the world over the terror attack.
The U.S. State Department issued a statement on the incident, saying America stands with its NATO ally Turkey and offered its condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in northern Iraq.
"The United States deplores the death of Turkish citizens […] We stand with our NATO Ally Turkey and extend our condolences to the families of those lost in the recent fighting. If reports of the death of Turkish civilians at the hands of the PKK, a designated terrorist organization, are confirmed, we condemn this action in the strongest possible terms," it said.
“I was deeply saddened by the news that Turkish soldiers and civilians lost their lives in northern Iraq. I offer our condolences to Turkey and allies and to those affected at this difficult time,” said British Ambassador to Turkey Dominick Chilcott on Twitter.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev conveyed his condolences to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the attack.
“We are extremely outraged by this horrific act of terrorism against civilians and strongly condemn all manifestations of terrorism.”
Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar, Prime Minister Ersan Saner and Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu also offered their condolences.
Tatar condemned the terror attack and said: “On behalf of myself and the Turkish Cypriot people, I extend my condolences to 13 brothers and their families, relatives and the Turkish nation.”
Qatar on Feb. 15 also condemned the execution of 13 Turkish citizens by PKK terrorist organization.
“Qatar reiterates its firm rejection of violence and terrorism regardless of the motives and reasons,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It offered condolences to the families of the victims and Turkey's government.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Feb. 15 condemned the execution of Turkish citizens by the PKK terrorist organization.
“We condemn the killing of Turkish citizens in the terrorist attack,” ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a press conference in Tehran.
He noted that through this “act of terrorism”, the PKK targeted Turkey, a "friend and brother" of Iran.