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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs