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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.