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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid