Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin has said roughly half the members of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) killed by Turkish security forces are not Turkish citizens but rather citizens of Iran, Syria and Iraq.
“The terrorist group [PKK] is not a domestic one. Our Kurdish brothers do not have such [separatist] ideas,” Şahin told participants of an iftar, or fast-breaking dinner, at a hotel in İstanbul on Tuesday. “Two of every captured four terrorists are not Turkish citizens,” he said, adding that some of those terrorists are of Armenian and Israeli nationality.
Şahin said Kurdish citizens of Turkey do not lend support to the terrorist PKK or approve of its terrorist activities. On the contrary, they are disturbed by the PKK and its affiliated organizations, according to the minister. “They [Turkey's Kurds] have no lack of rights, justice, law, equality or freedom. But they have problems such as the PKK and the Kurdistan Communities Union [KCK]. These groups abuse both our Kurdish brothers and the region and seek to establish a false world for themselves,” the minister stated.
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.
In response to a question over what is happening in Şemdinli, a district in the southeastern Hakkari province, Şahin said the PKK is working to terrorize the region because it is upset with failing to “bring the Arab Spring” there. The Turkish military has been carrying out a large-scale operation in Şemdinli for almost two weeks. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced earlier this week that 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.
Şahin complained that some media outlets are “contributing to the terrorist PKK with their reports. The extraordinary agenda of the country is not solely related to the area of clashes [in Hakkari]. Clashes are ongoing in İstanbul [at the headquarters of some media outlets] with pens and books. There is no difference between a mortar shell launched in southeastern Turkey [by the PKK] and news reports prepared in İstanbul or Ankara,” he said. The minister called on the media to be more careful in their reports.
Şahin also said military operations will continue until terrorism has ended in Turkey.
In the meantime, a security official who wished to remain anonymous was quoted as saying by a Turkish newspaper that three of the PKK terrorists killed in Şemdinli were young women, aged 16 or 17. The three women were carrying hand grenades, according to the official.
Authorities were unable to identify them because they were not carrying identification cards. They were taken for an autopsy, and the results showed that the women were only 16 or 17 years old.