Top state brass, civil society condemn deadly PKK attacks

Appalled by the killing of 24 security members in simultaneous terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacks in the southeastern province of Hakkari on Wednesday, top state officials, party leaders and civil society organizations condemned PKK violence while calling on the nation to show restraint.

President Abdullah Gül

President Abdullah Gül

President Abdullah Gül said those who caused this pain will be met with retaliation as he vowed a “great revenge” for the attacks. “Those who caused us to suffer this pain will suffer equally. Those who assume that they can shake the Turkish state in this way will see that our revenge for these attacks will be great. They will eventually see that they cannot wage a war against the Turkish state. Those who aid them should also learn their lessons and endure the consequences of this. The whole world should know that Turkey will go ahead with its fight against terrorism with determination until the very end. Turkey will never be shaken,” Gül told reporters in the wake of the attacks.

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, who spoke to reporters ahead of a meeting of the parliamentary constitutional commission, condemned terror. He said the attacks cast a shadow over the commission’s eagerness to start working on a new constitution, but he added that Turkey cannot take a step back in its efforts to make a new constitution.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on the nation to act with common sense in the face of Wednesday’s terrorist attacks, underscoring that expanding human rights and democracy in the country is the antidote to terror.

Erdoğan called a press conference Wednesday afternoon and confirmed the death toll in a series of attacks by the PKK in the southeastern province of Hakkari. He said 24 soldiers and policemen were killed in the attacks, and 18 others were injured.

“Everyone, both the enemies and friends of Turkey, should know that Turkey will never surrender to any attack, never take a step back and will never sacrifice even the slightest part of the country’s soil. Those who target the peace and stability of this country will find this government and the whole nation against them,” Erdoğan said.

The prime minister added, “Whoever lends explicit or implicit support to the terrorist PKK, aids or shows tolerance to the PKK and is careless about the inhumane attacks by the PKK will feel the Turkish state’s breath on their neck.” Noting that the recent acts of terrorism show that the PKK is a tool of “dark forces that are targeting peace and brotherhood in Turkey,” he said these attacks aim to provoke the Turkish people.

“If anyone fails to control his anger in the face of this painful incident, the terrorist organization will attain its goal. But we will not lose our patience and calmness,” he said.

Recalling that the attacks took place on the same day as Parliament was scheduled to begin working on a new constitution, Erdoğan said this incident will not prevent Turkey from going ahead with these efforts. “We know that the fight against terrorism is a long-running process. We know that the antidote for terror is human rights and democracy,” Erdoğan added. He also said Turkey expects full support and active cooperation from the international community in its counterterrorism efforts. The prime minister also targeted the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), whom he criticizes for not calling the PKK a terrorist organization. “Those who cannot declare the PKK a terrorist organization cannot contribute to this process. The word ‘peace’ does not even befit their mouths. The word ‘peace’ befits those who really long for peace,” Erdoğan said.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu called on the Turkish government led by Erdoğan to resign in the wake of the killing of 24 soldiers and policemen in Hakkari. The CHP chairman called a press conference at CHP headquarters on Wednesday and blamed PM Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for the recent spike in terrorist attacks in the country. “A prime minister should not hold others responsible for that. He should know his responsibilities. He is not the leader of the opposition party. He is governing the country. I am pointing out that the one responsible for our martyrs is the ruling AK Party and Prime Minister Erdoğan at the helm of it,” he said.

Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), called on the government to re-introduce emergency rule in southeastern Anatolia, almost a decade after its abolishment, because of increasing terrorist attacks by the PKK. He said in a statement that emergency rule should be imposed on provinces in the wake of Wednesday’s attacks.

Turkey first imposed emergency rule, known by its Turkish acronym OHAL, in several southeastern provinces in 1987 in response to PKK attacks in the region. OHAL meant a high number of troops being deployed to the region, regular checkpoints, curfews and a lack of recourse to courts. OHAL was only completely ended in 2002.

Turkey’s civil society also raised its voice against the PKK violence on Wednesday. Dozens of non-governmental organizations and labor unions such as the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD), the Diyarbakır Entrepreneur and Businessmen’s Association (DİGİAD), the Turkish Confederation of Employers’ Unions (TİSK) and the Çukurova Journalists’ Association (ÇGC) released statements condemning PKK terrorism and offering their condolences to the families of the slain security personnel.

 

 

19 October 2011, Wednesday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL