Turkish military sensitive about civilian casualties, Chief of General Staff says
CİHAN photoChief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar said the Turkish army makes great effort in preventing civilian casualties during the fight against terrorism, speaking at a reception for Republic Day on Oct. 29.
“The TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] is very sensitive and careful on the issue of not causing any civilian damages. This sensitivity is more than not shooting at areas where civilians are near a target, by also taking measures to prevent such situations,” Akar told Milliyet daily.
He said the military even gave penalties to the soldiers who damaged a garden, let aside the damages caused on individuals. “We aim to prevent damage but we also cover the damages if any are done. We have done this when terror incidents were not on the agenda. Now we continue to do the same with much sensitivity,” he added.
The chief of staff also stated that they try hard to give right and timely information to the public about incidents.
“We have to give concrete information. We are working with our related units to make this happen without any mistake. Our units are working day and night for the press,” he said, adding that the country is passing through sad times due to terrorism incidents and the consequential fallen soldiers. Referring to the Dağlıca incident in which 16 soldiers were killed in an ambush by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Akar responded to the criticism that the military had failed to inform the public about the number of fallen soldiers in time. “We cannot say a thing before we receive concrete information,” he added.