Erdogan accuses EU of 'tolerating' PKK

Turkish president also slams Iran, Russia for supporting Syrian regime

Erdogan accuses EU of 'tolerating' PKK

World Bulletin / News Desk

The EU has always tolerated the PKK organization despite designating it as a terrorist group, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

Erdogan’s remarks came during a televised interview aired Sunday on CNN International.

"The EU, which has designated PKK as a terrorist organization, has unfortunately always tolerated that the members of this group take shelter in [EU] member states, and has even given its leaders the opportunity to display a show of strength in those countries,” Erdogan told Connect the World’s Becky Anderson in an exclusive interview.

The Western countries have always left Turkey alone in its fight against terror, Erdogan said, adding that nonetheless, Turkey will continue its struggle against the PKK “until the end”, as the group constituted “the primary terrorist threat” facing Turkey.

Similarly, Turkey will also continue to fight “determinedly” against ISIL, as a part of the international coalition, Erdogan said, calling the terrorist group a “secondary threat” against the country.

The fighting between the PKK and the security forces saw a fragile lull for a two-and-a-half year period from early 2013 in what is publicly known as the "solution process" in an attempt to end the conflict. The efforts led by the Turkish government were abandoned in July when the PKK renewed its armed struggle in response to the July 20 Suruc suicide bombing -- attributed to ISIL -- that killed 33 pro-Kurdish activists.

Four days after Suruc, Turkey launched airstrikes against the PKK in Turkey and northern Iraq and since then, more than 75 security forces members have been killed.

In addition, hundreds have been arrested in a crackdown on "terrorist" groups that also include leftist organizations and ISIL.


Erdogan also blamed the supporters of the Syrian regime, namely Russia and Iran, for the refugee crisis engulfing Europe.

"They have never wanted an intervention in Syria, always supporting its cruel leader. They have never thought about what must be done to remove him [from power],” he said.

“There are things that Russia and Iran must do. These are the countries that are supporting Syria right now. I am saying this openly here since I have already talked to them [Russian and Iranian leaders]. I have to say this because I am hurting. They supply them with weapons, and money, and support this [Syrian] regime. All their attempts are geared towards eliminating the [Syrian] opposition,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan also said ISIL was “in solidarity” with the Syrian regime, which is “right now the biggest supporter” of this group.

“Those who try their hardest to keep this regime alive are responsible for this,” he added.

Europe is facing the biggest refugee crisis in decades, with thousands of asylum seekers from Middle Eastern and African countries trying to reach western Europe.

Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said Saturday that out of 300,000 migrants, 46 percent were Syrians and 12 percent were Afghans who came to Europe since January 2015.

The number of migrants fleeing the civil war in Syria to neighboring countries has passed 4 million, U.N. refugee agency figures show.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Eylül 2015, 09:08