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 Turkish PM says our enemies should know that will never surrender to any attack

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Turkish PM says our enemies should know that will never surrender to any attack  20.10.2011  

October 20, 2011

ANKARA, — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the nation to act with common sense in the face of Wednesday's PKK attacks that left 26 Turkish soldiers dead, underscoring that expanding human rights and democracy in the country is the antidote to 'terror'.

Erdogan called a press conference in the afternoon on Wednesday and confirmed the death toll in a series of attacks by the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the southeastern Kurdish province of Hakkari. He said 24 Turkish soldiers and policemen were killed in the attacks and 18 others were injured.

"Everyone, both the enemies and friends of Turkey, should           

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AFP
know that Turkey will never surrender to any attack, never take a step back and will never sacrifice even a 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," Erdogan 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.

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.

BDP co-chairpersons Gülten Kışanak and Selahattin Demirtaş issued a written statement on Wednesday and said the deaths in Hakkari have pulled apart the whole country and that words are not sufficient to describe the pain they have suffered. "We say 'enough' to this war and these deaths. The painful picture today once again shows that Turkey urgently needs peace. Turkey has no option other than peace," their statement said.

Ankara launched a response to PKK attacks on the ground and in the air. Several hundred Turkish soldiers have crossed into Iraqi Kurdistan region to hunt down PKK rebels.

Turkish air force planes also bombed Kurdish rebel bases in Iraqi Kurdistan in retaliation for the attacks, security sources said. The air raids targeted Qandil region, the main rear base of the PKK, they added.

Since August 17, Turkish jets repeatedly carried out air strikes against the Kurdish PKK separatist group's bases in Iraqi Kurdistan region, under justification of chasing elements of the anti-Ankara PKK, forcing large numbers of Kurdish citizens of those areas to desert their home villages, including an air raid that killed 7 Kurdish civilians in a village north of Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniyah city on August 21st.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

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