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HÜSEYİN GÜLERCE

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HÜSEYİN GÜLERCE
October 20, 2011, Thursday

Is there anybody who will answer for this negligence?

We had 33 martyrs within a day of each other: First in the district of Güroymak in Bitlis province when Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists detonated a powerful explosive by remote control as a police armor passed by, killing five police officers and four civilians, including an infant and a child; then the next day PKK terrorists launched attacks in eight different locations in the Çukurca district of Hakkari province, killing 24 and injuring 18.

It is obvious that our patience is being tested and these are attempts to create a Turkish-Kurdish clash. Turkey, a rising star, is facing a great threat. The PKK is not a terrorist organization staging a fight for the Kurdish issue. We have a terror organization for which those who are afraid of Turkey’s rise are extending their full support.

We have been struggling with terrorism for 25 years but we have not made slightest progress; quite to the contrary, the fire that we have failed to extinguish, which was once relatively insignificant now influences Turkey entirely. There is almost no single town or district in Turkey that does not have a martyr. There are sections for martyrs all graveyards across Turkey. Recall the remarks Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner made few weeks ago when he said: “We cannot maintain the order-command chain. Team commanders leave their spot during the conflict. Because of training weaknesses, we have killed one of our own privates thinking he was a terrorist. Our border outposts are flawed including Hantepe. Our overall situation is terrible. We cannot use the technical opportunities we have; our training and exercises are poor.”

There is a huge weakness in intelligence. Around 200-300 militants infiltrated the borders with heavy weaponry weighing 300-400 kilograms many days ago and we did not locate or spot them despite advanced technical equipment. How is it possible that they smuggled 200 mortars along with the bullets? What is happening at that border for God’s sake? Won’t anybody stand up to this bitter reality? In addition, at times there is intelligence but nobody cares about it. Recall the general now under arrest in connection with Balyoz who briefed the prime minister: Did he not make the excuse, ‘We thought they were shepherds,’ about terrorists without any sheep in sight?

But the real questions are different. Despite all these attacks, despite the escalating terrorism, why are measures not being taken? Why do not they do anything? Recently, Dağlıca battalion commander Lt. Col. Onur Dirik, in a statement to this paper said he received reports one month in advance that there would be a terrorist attack but their hands were tied. Why? Experts have been warning for years that outposts have been installed in the wrong places in the region. Most were constructed against smugglers. Soldiers who receive only the briefest training are sent to these outposts and become clear targets for the PKK. The same outposts are attacked repeatedly and most are no better than slum houses. Take a look at these outposts. Why do we have to keep these outposts to defend ourselves? If there is a need for new outposts, then strong and sturdy ones should be constructed. When will this happen? Furthermore, we have been raising our voices for years that troops with little training should not be sent to fight guerillas who are familiar with this type of conflict and battle. Why has it taken so long to train special forces? Why do the terrorists not have large casualties in comparison to the huge number of martyrs? Is the time for excuses not over? Isn’t there anybody who can bring these treasons and mistakes to justice?

We hope the attackers will be punished right there and then. We want them to be surprised right at the same locations where they held their attacks.

For God’s sake, we don’t want to hear any more statements like, “Our planes bombed the camps,” “Their path of escape were blocked,” and “We have crossed the border 4 kilometers.” Stage a strong fight against terrorism that we can all see and appreciate.

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