More democracy to finish PKK: Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan

Erdoğan says more democracy and freedom is the antidote to the terrorism problem as Davutoğlu urges neighbors to pick a side
A Turkish army convoy makes its way on a road in the province of Şırnak near the Turkish-Iraqi border in southeastern Turkey. AFP photo

A Turkish army convoy makes its way on a road in the province of Şırnak near the Turkish-Iraqi border in southeastern Turkey. AFP photo

Turkey will forge ahead with democratic reform and human rights in the fight against terrorism, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday, a day after Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu urged Iraqi Kurds and regional countries to choose a side in the conflict against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“More democracy is the antidote to terror. The solution to terror lies in insisting on human rights, justice and freedoms,” Erdoğan said in a monthly address to the nation. “The [terrorists’] dirty calculations will fail, and those who expect gains from terror will not succeed.”

Kurdish militants have suffered “significant losses” in a recent military offensive near the border with Iraq, he said. “An air-backed ground operation that is carried out at home and across the border, primarily in Çukurca [a district in the eastern province of Hakkari] and its vicinity, is achieving its objective. The terrorist organization is being dealt significant losses,” Erdogan said.

speaking in a televised interview on Oct. 29, Davutoğlu said Turkey could not tolerate a threatening organization just beyond its borders. “Everybody should clarify their position. One cannot be neutral in the struggle against terrorism,” he said. “The regional administration in northern Iraq should either prevent the terrorist structure or cooperate with us, or we will enter and stop them by ourselves. That’s a right stemming from international law.”

Sunday, October 30, 2011
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News