News / Europe

Turkey Retaliates for Deadly Rebel-Kurd Attack

Soldiers carry the coffin of Turkish soldier Onur Karakus during a funeral ceremony in Istanbul August 15, 2011
Soldiers carry the coffin of Turkish soldier Onur Karakus during a funeral ceremony in Istanbul August 15, 2011

In Turkey the bodies of the eight Turkish soldiers killed by the Kurdish rebel group the PKK are being returned to their home towns. The deaths have caused both public and political outrage in Turkey. Turkish armed forces have bombed PKK bases in neighboring northern Iraq and the government is under mounting pressure to take a tougher stance against the rebels.  

Hundreds of people protested in Istanbul throughout the night against the killings of eight Turkish soldiers by the Kurdish rebel group the PKK. One of city's major highways was blocked by the protestors, waving Turkish flags and chanting anti-PKK slogans.

At the same time, the Turkish air force, backed by artillery, bombed Kurdish rebel bases in Northern Iraq.  With 34 soldiers killed in the past few weeks, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is under mounting pressure to crackdown on the PKK.  

The prime minister has been critical of the army over its handling of the insurgency and is expected to accelerate the planned use of police in combating the rebels. But retired brigadier Haldun Solmazturk says thatis proving extremely controversial.

"It is a stupid idea. Anyone who has any idea what the army is about, what the police is about, what anti-terror operations mean out of the city, would never entertain such an idea," said Solmazturk. "I hope advisers explain to him the difference between an army and a police force."

The controversial measure is reported to have been discussed at a meeting of Turkey's National Security Council, where senior ministers meet with the head's of the army forces. The armed forces say further strikes against iraq are also planned, but analysts say both measures are expected to have at best only limited effect on combating the insurgency.

A PKK statement said the air strikes were expected and they have had years of experience in dealing with them. The measures are being seen as more to do with quelling the growing Turkish public anger.

Journalist Metehan Demir of the Turkish daily Hurriyet says Mr. Erdogan's increasing tough rhetoric against the PKK should be carefully examined.

"If you look at carefully what he says, out of 10 sentences , six sentences are very tough. But if you look at the other four sentences, they are little bit calmer and a little warmer to the other side," said Metehan.

The Prime Minister has made resolving the 27-year conflict with the PKK a key priority.

For the past few months Turkish officials have conducted talks with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and a planned new constitution is also seen as an opportunity to meet Kurdish rights demands.  

But Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek refused to meet with the leaders of the pro-Kurdish BDP during meeting Thursday with parliament party leaders to discuss the new constitution.

Cicek cited the ongoing BDP parliament boycott as his reason. The BDP is boycotting parliament because of the imprisonment of one of their colleagues.

But observers say Cicek's exclusion of the BDP has much to do with Wednesdays killings.  Earlier this week. Mr. Erdogan accused the party of being complicit in the deaths of soldiers, because of its failure to denounce the PKK.

Those who do not distance themselves from the terrorist organization are partners in the crime," Erdoğan said. Those who cast a shadow on peace in Turkey and shed blood will pay the price for their actions, and the payment will be heavy he added.  

But Parliament deputy for the pro-Kurdish BDP, Ertugral Kurkcu, says the military action and the tough rhetoric should be seen in a wider context.

"It is a downward process, but I hope it will get better, because [the] Tayyip Erdogan government is now trying to see if they can reduce the power of the PKK in military and political terms, before sitting down on a table for peace negotiations, this is why the violence is escalating,"  said Kurkcu.

Kurkcu says the BDP will probably end the parliament boycott when it returns October 1st and will participate in the new constitution process.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More