MHP leader calls for ground offensive in Iraq before winter

Devlet Bahçeli

September 08, 2011, Thursday/ 15:16:00

Opposition leader Devlet Bahçeli called on the government to authorize a ground offensive against terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq before winter, saying “no stone should be left unturned” in the Kandil Mountains area where the PKK has bases.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader said this should be a bigger opportunity for the government than imposing sanctions against Israel after it refused to apologize for a deadly raid on an aid ship on May 31, 2010 in which eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed. “Instead of fighting in the waves of the Eastern Mediterranean, the government must leave no stone unturned in the Kandil Mountains, render terrorist caves uninhabitable and a launch a ground offensive before winter,” Bahçeli said in a written statement.

Turkey last week vowed to take measures to ensure freedom of navigation in the Eastern Mediterranean as part of a set of sanctions against Israel. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, “Our ships will be seen more frequently in those waters,” referring to the Eastern Mediterranean, without elaborating.

Bahçeli also called for a “security zone” inside northern Iraq, reinforcement of military posts along the border and further measures to prevent PKK infiltrations into Turkey. The Iraqi Kurdish administration, which governs three provinces in northern Iraq, should also be punished, according to Bahçeli, because of its support for the PKK. “The peshmerga rule that protects and provokes the PKK should be taught a lesson,” he said.

Bahçeli accused the government of “indifference and tolerance” towards the PKK, saying it helped the terrorist organization to gain ground and step up attacks against Turkish soldiers. He reiterated that the government's democratic initiative, aimed at addressing the Kurdish problem through reforms, must be terminated immediately and state contacts with Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, must end.

Investigation into BDP congress

The MHP leader also called on state prosecutors to deepen an investigation into a pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) congress held last weekend. The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday launched an investigation into the BDP congress, where participants waved Öcalan posters and pro-PKK placards. Prosecutors were looking into the possibility of the posters and placards being falling under the definition of “terrorist propaganda.”

Bahçeli said organizers of the congress also played a “PKK anthem” instead of the Turkish national anthem and that a moment of silence was held in memory of the PKK terrorists that killed Turkish soldiers. “It has become imperative that the public prosecutors deepen their investigation,” he said.

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