Turkey Will Pay “Heavy Price” for Offensive: PKK

Turkey Will Pay “Heavy  Price” for Offensive: PKK
Turkey Will Pay “Heavy  Price” for Offensive: PKK

A senior figure in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party on Friday warned that Turkey would pay “a heavy price” for its offensive against the Kurdish forces amid new deadly clashes in the Kurdish-majority southeast.

“We are waging a battle of the wills,” PKK’s northern Iraq-based leader Murat Karayilan was quoted by local Firat news agency as saying in the Kurdish Sterk TV, AFP reported.

“We are experienced and we know very well what to do. They made a very big mistake by attacking us ... They will pay a very heavy price for that.”

A 40-year-old man was killed when he was caught in an armed clash between Turkish forces and PKK in the city of Diyarbakir, security sources said.

Ankara has launched a two-pronged offensive against IS in Syria and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party camps in Iraq, but so far the bombardments have focused far more on the Kurdish forces. Iraqi Kurdish officials claim civilians were killed during the raids.

Karayilan, who is often seen as the movement’s overall leader in the absence of  its jailed iconic chief Abdullah Ocalan, said PKK had not “put into effect a war plan yet.”

“Our fight continues in a planned and controlled way. We are just conducting retaliatory actions.”

According to an AFP toll, 31 members of the Turkish security forces have since died in attacks blamed on PKK.

 Doomed to Fail

More than 2,000 people took to the streets in Diyarbakir on Friday to protest against the escalating cycle of violence that has left a 2013 ceasefire agreed by PKK in tatters, witnesses said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday vowed that his government would press on with its relentless campaign against Kurdish militants, saying the operations were not “temporary.”

“You shall not think they are strong ... They are doomed to fail,” Erdogan told supporters in his ancestral hometown in the Black Sea province of Rize.

“Those who support them and lead them will be defeated sooner or later.”

More than 1,700 suspects have been arrested since late last month in police raids nationwide targeting suspected members of PKK as well as IS and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party Front, or DHKP-C, state-run Anatolia news agency said.

On Friday, police detained at least 39 suspected terrorists in raids in several cities, including Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, Anatolia said.

Karayilan, meanwhile, distanced PKK from the killing on July 22 of two Turkish policemen in their sleep as one carried out “by a group not precisely affiliated to us.”

He stressed that PKK’s central command did not approve of suicide bombings, such as an attack in Istanbul on Monday that was claimed by Kurdish militants.

 Bloody Friday

Six people were killed and eight wounded on Friday as violence between Kurdish and Turkish forces flared up again in Turkey’s southeast, security sources and the military said.

Three soldiers were killed and six wounded, one critically, in the southeastern province of Hakkari after suspected PKK forces opened fire with long-range rifles and rocket launchers, the military claimed in a statement. Security sources earlier put the death toll at four soldiers.

In the eastern province of Bingol, a soldier was killed after a mine was detonated remotely, the provincial governor’s office said. Two PKK fighters were killed during an operation in response to the attack.

PKK, declared as a terrorist group by Washington and Ankara, has sought greater Kurdish autonomy for more than three decades.