17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

Erdoğan: Turkey may launch operations in Syria to stop PKK infiltration

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6 August 2012, Monday /TODAY'S ZAMAN
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said members of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), backed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, are seeking to infiltrate Turkey from Syria and that Turkey may launch military operations in Syria to stop it.

According to remarks made by Erdoğan on the Gündem Özel (Special Agenda) television program on ATV on Sunday evening, Assad is lending support to the terrorist organization in Syria, and the organization is subsequently filtering into Turkey. “Assad was about to break his ties with [the PKK] in the past, when he had relations with Turkey based on good will. But it has been revealed that he supports the PKK,” he stated.

The prime minister's remarks came in the wake of simultaneous attacks on four military outposts in the southeastern province of Hakkari by PKK terrorists on Sunday. The attacks left six soldiers and two village guards dead. Fourteen terrorists were also killed in clashes with Turkish security forces.

Erdoğan strongly condemned the attacks on Sunday afternoon, saying the “terrorist group displayed its hostility to Turkey's national and moral values by attacking security forces during Ramadan.” He also implied Syria could be behind the attack, but did not elaborate, adding that terrorist groups and their aides targeting Turkey's fraternity, unity and peace will be nothing more than “dark spots” in history.

Asked whether Turkey is likely to launch military operations in Syria to stop the infiltration of PKK members, Erdoğan said: “Who knows that we will not do it? Our three military units are performing exercises on the [Turkish-Syrian] border. The tomb of Suleyman Shah [grandfather of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire], is still Turkish soil. We will not be a bystander to any wrong done [against the tomb] there.”

During the TV program, the prime minister also stated that the Turkish military will continue its operations in the north of neighboring Iraq as long as the PKK continues to exist there. “We will continue our operations, and will never stop. If [the PKK] continues to exist as a threat to us, we will stage our operations [in northern Iraq] and then return to Turkey,” he said.

Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the United States, the PKK has been carrying out a bloody war in Turkey's Southeast since 1984. Dozens of soldiers have been killed in clashes with the PKK over the past months.

Erdoğan also provided information about a military operation in the district of Şemdinli in Hakkari, which has been ongoing for more than a week. He said a total of 115 PKK terrorists have been killed by security forces since the operation began. The operation was initiated when terrorists blocked the road of a village in the region and interrogated villagers. The prime minister refuted media reports that several Turkish soldiers have been killed in the operation.

According to Erdoğan, Turkey will not make concessions in its fight against terror. “We will continue the fight without making concessions on law, democracy and human rights. … The solution is the laying down of arms by the terrorist group. Security forces never lay down arms. Weapons are the natural instruments of security forces,” he added.

‘Assad set free 1,200 PKK members in Syrian jails'

Khaled Abu Saleh, spokesman of the Homs Revolutionary Council, has claimed that the Syrian president has set free around 1,200 PKK terrorists from jails, in a move which he claims is an open indication of Assad's support for the terrorist organization. The terrorists were incarcerated on politically related charges. Assad has further ordered the release of 3,000 people with links to the PKK. “These people [will then move] to the Kurdish region in Syria. They are acting together with the Syrian administration,” Saleh told Today's Zaman.

According to Saleh, Assad is winning the support of the Kurds by promising to help them establish a Kurdish state. “In this way, he hopes that the Kurds will not become enemies to him. On the other hand, he tries to win the support of Turkmens and Arabs, saying they will have to live under the control of the Kurds if he is removed from office.”

Saleh also said that the Syrian people are striving to survive under very hard conditions. “Homs is under occupation. People are not allowed to enter or leave many neighborhoods. They are about to run out of food. There is no electricity or water. It is impossible to send them medical aid,” he said, complaining that the Red Cross does not send aid to the region. “We begged the Red Cross to send aid to Homs, but they did not, citing many excuses,” he added.

Analysts point to flaws of intelligence, lack of security of outposts

Terrorism experts have argued that flaws in intelligence led to a tragedy in Çukurca last year in which PKK strikes killed 24 soldiers, and have rendered outposts where Turkish soldiers encamp unsafe.

According to Suat Gün, a retired gendarmerie captain, forcing soldiers to serve in unsafe and fixed outposts makes them “targets” for the terrorist PKK. “If soldiers were mobile, they would probably not be killed by the terrorist group,” Gün said, adding that Turkey needs better and stronger intelligence to fight terrorists in the far-eastern and southeastern parts of the country.

Military outposts located in high and rocky mountains were once built as part of Turkey's efforts to curb smuggling in the region, but have since been neglected. The government has vowed to reinforce outposts in the country's eastern and southeastern regions, as bloody terrorist attacks have claimed the lives of dozens of soldiers in the past few years, but the reinforcement has not yet been completed.

Beril Dedeoğlu, an instructor in international relations at Galatasaray University in İstanbul, suggests that the PKK is hoping to cause the Turkish state to “make mistakes in its anti-terror fight” by the bloody attacks, and added that the terrorist group wants to create a “buffer zone” between Turkey and the Kurdish state it wants to establish in Syria. According to Dedeoğlu, the PKK wants the buffer zone to be Hakkari.

“Assad is probably assisting the PKK [in its attacks] because we see that the terrorist group carries out its attacks with heavy weapons. No one knows how the PKK brought those weapons inside Turkey. Intelligence groups should work better,” she added.

Professor İdris Bal, a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy, said people nested within the security forces working for the benefit of illegal networks should be purged so that Turkey's anti-terror efforts can achieve their objectives. 

I back General Sherman because he speaks the truth, whereas you people speak because your dislike to Turks.You want us to be weak and submissive but never, this hasn't and isn't of a Turkish character as we are fighters for our land and our people. We are hospitable to foreigners and alike who chose...
turkish leaders must not give their enemies any chance to paint them as ultra turkish nationalists, who are looking at syria to safegaurd and promote just their national interests.Instead they must carefuly and sincerely make Muslim Ummah understand that what ever they are doing in syria or what ev...
Sherman, you are not Turkish. You are not from Turkey. You don't live in Turkey. You will never pass the mustard test to become a citizen of Turkey. You have nothing to do with Turkey. And you are obviously too ashamed to use a Turkish name. Yet you constantly insult our law abiding Kurdish, Armenia...
M Kemal
Turks who come to Kurdistan on tanks are oppressors and will face the same fate as qadhafi and Saddam.
@Metin, one doesn't become a "martyr" for occupying fellow Muslims lands, depriving them of their basic rights and fundamental liberties and brutalizing them. Allah said to his last prophet. "We created many nations, tribes and languages." And Prophet Jesus introduced the Golden Rule when he said "D...
@Artur is being correct. Christian, Hindu Budhist and Jewish are not being terrorist.
" Turkey may launch operations in Syria to stop PKK infiltration " I suggest the the operation name will be " Cast Lead II "
Ben Yacob
It's very funny if it were not shameful. How can this hypocrite Ordogan complain about terrorists when he himself is helping the terrorists in Syria. May be he does not read English. Would someone please translate this message into Turkish. Thank you.
The US/Turkey/Saudi Arabia/ Qatar are jointly and severally responsible for the safe return of the pilgrims because it was their terrorists that have abducted them. These countries should be reminded that one day some of their citizens may be in similar situations where the Iranian government can he...
Sherman what you see in your dreams at night is not history. Go and get some culture and learn some history, different than the one written by the Turkish Education Ministry That is more fairy tails than history.French have always been against the Alawite in Syria who resisted colonialism! than Arme...
Mr Erdogan. I don't think you understand that your threats mean nothing to anyone anymore. If your going to act just act. Your threats are meaningless now, kind of like Iran's and Israel's. Talk Talk Talk!
Ahmed; Aleppo, Syria
Hahahahaha what a joke from Khaled Abu Saleh! Assad winning support of Arabs and Turkmen by telling them that they will have to live under control of Kurds if he was removed from office hahahahah. I really don't whom to laugh at, Assad (for thinking that way), Saleh (for claiming that), or Today's Z...
Your so-called terrorism experts don't talk any sense. one can easily tell how nationalistic they are and how biased their views are. "Assad is probably assisting the PKK [in its attacks] because we see that the terrorist group carries out its attacks with heavy weapons" how naive! you claim that...
In GeneralSherman's (typical Turk) deference everyone not Sunni Turk or Arab is terrorist. Its not necessarily what Kurds, Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Assyrians etc. is doing... but who they are. They are all terrorist in his little primitive mind.
Be they in Syria or Iraq-the PKK will be hunted down so long as they exist. Yes, we may lose martyrs to the fight, but they, the godless terrorists, will always lose much more.
SergeantSherman first terrosist and Christian words can't be connected with each other , second do you have mental problems ?
PKK gave Turkey many chances to make peace with the Kurds. Turkey slammed every opportunity. Now the PKK will join other forces and Turkey will loose. Kurdistan Autonomous region in Syria is granted. Iran will also fallow suite VERY VERY soon. This is a way Kurds will gain freedom Iran will gain p...
Turkey can solve the problem with siryan kurds by close discussion with them.no mediator is required while Turkey has an active diplomacy.by close talks and discussion directly with them ,many misunderstandings will be solved.actually Turkys position against Assads regim is in favour of underdog peo...
mehmet-south azerbayjan-urmia
General Sherman ! We already know you are a paranoid , illadvised and a misguided Armenian and christian hater . But to see hands of the Armenians in the Kurdish Turkish problem ? Is beyond mind boggling , to say the list . For your information , Armenian communities throuout the entire region , Leb...
More nonsense from a leader who has failed to wrest control of these killing fields from the Turkish milita. The truth is be probably has no idea whatis going on there and Neil the military is under civil control we never will. Today he blames Assad who is probably the least likely orchestrator giv...
Tehlikeli yabanci
And who is backing Hamas and host palestinian murderes ?
Ben Yacob
Some wise Sonni claim that Alalwait 12% ( no real census been counted) . even if it is so. USA the bestian of Western Democracy is ruled and owned by 1% ,yes one percent. Turkey ruled by Six thousand army men known as deep government, Ergenkon ,or Just a Mafia that not even .01 % ...
Not surprising. The illegitmate Alawite 12 % minority regime in Syria is a throwback to French imperialism. It's a continuation of a scheme invented by Frenchmen in Paris with armenians to cause instability in the region and oppress the Sunni Arab majority in the country and give a privileged stat...
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