Erdogan Vows Relentless Campaign Against PKK

Erdogan Vows  Relentless Campaign Against PKKErdogan Vows  Relentless Campaign Against PKK

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan swore on Tuesday to continue a relentless campaign against Kurdish forces until “not one terrorist” remained standing.

“We will continue our fight until weapons are laid down ... and not one single terrorist remains within our borders,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in Ankara, France24 reported.

His comments came as the Turkish military ratcheted up pressure on Kurdistan Workers’ Party positions with a fresh round of airstrikes in the southeast of the country.

Warplanes pounded 17 targets in the province of Hakkari on Monday and Tuesday, the military said.

He said the weapons of the PKK and other militant groups must be buried “under concrete” to show they were no longer a threat to the Turkish state.

“I’m not talking about laying down arms, I’m talking about burying them. I’d like to emphasize this.”

NATO member Turkey started what it called a “synchronized war on terror” last month, attacking PKK fighters in northern Iraq and, less frequently, Islamic State militants in northern Syria.

By largely focusing on the PKK, both in neighboring Iraq and at home, Ankara has raised suspicions among Kurds that its real agenda is to check Kurdish territorial ambitions rather than to crush the outlawed Turkish organization.

Erdogan said Tuesday that Turkey’s air campaign against the PKK had already inflicted “serious losses” on the group.

“We know that the terrorist organization sustained serious losses as a result of operations carried out inside and outside our country,” Erdogan said, referring to the PKK.

He added that “effective operations” were carried out against IS militants.

“For us, there is no difference between terrorist organizations. Whatever their purpose is, for us, a terrorist organization is a terrorist organization.”

 Peace Process “in the Fridge”

The Kurds have retaliated to Turkey’s airstrikes with violence.

On Tuesday, the PKK claimed responsibility for Monday’s bombing of the police station in which four people died, three of them attackers.

The bombing was one of a wave of attacks on Turkish security forces that killed at least nine people.

The mounting violence has all but ended a peace process between Turkey and the PKK, which has waged a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy.

This is while the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army Front, or DHKP-C, said on Tuesday it was behind the attack on the US Consulate, describing the US as the “chief enemy of people in the Middle East and in the world.”

The attack came a day after the US sent six F-16 fighter jets and about 300 personnel to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey in a move claimed to be targeting only IS positions.

Erdogan acknowledged as much on Tuesday, saying the peace process was now “in the fridge,” while taking a swipe at Kurdish political forces for not appreciating the government’s steps to end the conflict.

“Unfortunately they did not understand what has been done” for them, he said.

The state-run Anatolia news agency reported over the weekend that so far 390 “terrorists” had been killed in campaign against the PKK.