Turkish government mulls no change in terror fight methods

Turkish government mulls no change in terror fight methods

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish government mulls no change in terror fight methods

DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkey’s security-focused anti-terror fight is unlikely to be revised despite the recent rise in terror attacks, ignoring calls to give emphasis on the democratization process for a solution to the roots of the terror problem.

“There is no rise in the number of terror attacks, but in the propaganda of the terror organization [over attacks]. If you look in-depth you will see that mass terror incidents are continuing, but this cannot be evaluated as an increase,” a senior government official told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. The official’s statements reflected the conclusions of Tuesday’s National Security Council’s (MGK) meeting, where the state of the struggle against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was discussed.

The long-lasting debate over how the problem could be solved has come to a deadlock, after the government gave up its so-called “Kurdish opening process” aiming to eliminate the root causes of terrorism by focusing on the democratic demands of the Kurdish citizens. Instead, it has tightened the screws through an intensified military campaign against the PKK and it has ended its dialogue with the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

Most recently, Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek urged the government to put more emphasis on democratic reforms without delay, and called on all parties not to slow down the new charter works.

Çiçek’s warnings came after a series of deadly attacks, with the most traumatic one in Gaziantep killing nine civilians.

The government official, however, dismissed claims that there was a rise in PKK attacks, but admitted that the terror organization was implementing a different approach in the Şemdinli province of Hakkari.
“They implement a different strategy in Şemdinli. Our security forces reply to them in adequate ways,” the official said.

When asked whether the government would consider changing current means in the anti-PKK fight, the official ruled out any revision to the means through which to combat terrorism.

Linked with Turkey’s heavy engagement in the Syrian crisis, the PKK’s attacks have increased in size and shown a change in its tactical moves. Kidnapping a lawmaker, a first in its three decades old struggle, killing civilians by exploding a bombed car, and trying to seize control of Şemdinli in a massive attack that lasted nearly three weeks, are all indications of the PKK’s change in strategy. However, for government officials, these attacks have been heavily used by the PKK for media propaganda. Civilian and military members of the MGK also discussed growing collaboration between the PKK and the Bashar al-Assad regime. “We are determined to eliminate any sort of threats wherever they are posed,” the official said, without further elaborating.

Meanwhile, PKK members attacked two gendarmerie posts in the eastern province of Tunceli on the night of Aug. 29. No injuries were reported in the incidents, but an air operation was launched in the area.