Turkish government toughens measures for terrorism fight

Turkish government toughens measures for terrorism fight

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish government toughens measures for terrorism fight

The military has been staging operations in Şırnak after a deadly attack. Hürriyet photo

In the wake of the rise in terrorist attacks, the government has strengthened military measures against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) by deploying more experienced commanders in the sensitive areas where clashes have escalated. 

As part of the plan, the Turkish military launched a massive military operation in the Beytüşşebap province of Şırnak yesterday, where terrorists killed 10 troops in a recent attack.

“In the YAŞ [Supreme Military Council] meeting, it was decided that commanders experienced in the fight against terror should be sent [to the Southeastern Anatolia region]. The results will be seen shortly,” Yalçın Akdoğan, Ankara deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and advisor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said in a televised interview late on Sept. 4. 

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has intensified its terrorist campaign in the last three months, after it announced that it had entered into a new phase for a military solution to the problem. This campaign included the kidnapping of a lawmaker and other local politicians, exploding bombs in residential areas, and attacks against military posts in the southeastern provinces of Şemdinli and Beytüşşebap. 

“We are observing that the PKK is using methods to seize control of some regions. It has tried this in Şemdinli and was defeated. Similarly, in Beytüşşebap. The state never bends the knees. We see that they have been repulsed from city centers and have been fully neutralized,” Akdoğan said. After the deadly attacks in Gaziantep and Beytüşşebap, which killed nine civilians and 10 troops respectively, the government and military officials held a number of meetings to respond to the PKK campaign. Erdoğan met Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel for three hours on Sept. 3 and intelligence chief Hakan Fidan on Sept. 4. Fidan also briefed President Abdullah Gül yesterday. 

As part of the new counter-measures, commanders who are specialized in combating terror will be appointed to provinces where clashes between troops and terrorists have been intensified. These provinces are mainly Şırnak and Hakkari on the Iraqi border, where the PKK has been carrying out its most fatal attacks. Special teams are also to be more effectively used in these areas, and aerial and ground operations are expected to be increased in due course. 

Massive operation in Beytüşşebap

Troops have been transferred from Şırnak to Beytüşşebap in helicopters, and have been deployed in areas where PKK terrorists are believed to be hiding. Reports from the region suggest minor clashes between troops and terrorists around the Kumtik and Kato mountains, which have also been supported by aerial bombardments. 

Meanwhile, Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin has disclosed the number of village guards accompanying the security forces’ efforts in the fight against terror. As of April, 45,181 village guards had been recruited, Şahin disclosed in a written response to a parliamentary question. A village guard is paid 761 Turkish Liras monthly, and an additional 24 liras compensation for participation in military operations.