World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey needs international community’s support to establish regional peace through its counterterrorism efforts against the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) and ISIL armed group, Turkish presidential spokesman has said.
"Turkey alone cannot establish regional peace through its counterterrorism efforts against the PKK and ISIL. It also needs the support of the international community," presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in his column titled “Rejecting ISIL and PKK Terrorism” for the Turkish newspaper, Daily Sabah, published online Tuesday night.
Kalin dismissed "unfounded" claims that Turkey did nothing against ISIL. He reiterated that Turkey was not only a part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL, but it also designated the militant group as a terrorist organization way back in October 2013.
He said that Turkey had detained 500 ISIL-linked suspects, expelled 1,600 suspected foreigners and banned the entry of 15,000 others into the country, adding that the claim that Turkey was not fighting ISIL was "simply not true".
“It looks like some have chosen Turkey as a scapegoat for the rise and spread of ISIL when in fact its presence in the Levant and beyond is the result of the failure of the security architecture in Iraq and the war in Syria. If Iraq had a different political and security structure and the brutal Assad regime had been removed from power, we would probably not be talking about ISIL today,” he said.
He urged the international community to carry out its "collective responsibility" in thwarting foreign terrorists from crossing into Syriaand reminded them that it was not just Turkey's problem to stop the flow.
"While Turkey deals with the consequences of a brutal and bloody war along its 911-kilometer border with Syria and shoulders the enormous burden of 1.7 million Syrian refugees, one cannot help but ask what those countries from which potential terrorists come are doing to stop them before they reach Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon or Iraq.
“One also needs to ask why a young boy who grew up in Europe would join a terrorist organization like ISIL. One wonders what European countries are doing to stop this insane radicalization. How is Turkey supposed to identify and stop potential terrorists who hold European passports without proper intelligence cooperation by their countries of origin? Blaming Turkey blindly does not solve this problem,” he added.
“Self-defense against PKK”
Kalin defended Turkey's offensive against the outlawed PKK group that began after the Suruc attack on July 20 as "self-defense".
"Turkey is acting in self-defense against the PKK and its affiliates," he said.
He recalled that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu received "full support" from the leaders of the U.S., Russia, France, the U.K., Germany, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Qatar and Jordan for such acts of "self-defense".
"All leaders confirmed that the PKK is a terrorist organization and the fight against ISIS or the war in Syria cannot be an excuse to whitewash its terrorist activities," Kalin said.
Kalin also dismissed the allegation that Turkey was targeting the Kurds and called it an "outright lie", saying that the PKK and its media outlets were allegedly carrying out a smear campaign to undermine the legitimacy of Turkey's fight against the PKK.
"Turkey is not targeting the Kurdish people but dismantling PKK's training camps and arms caches in Iraq and Turkey," he added, which he pointed out was also confirmed by Masoud Barzani, the president of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government.
"Turkey is responding to PKK's attacks inside Turkey," Kalin quoted Barzani as saying, who also called on the PKK to stop its attacks and leave northern Iraq.
Kalin also said: "In the last 10 years, Turkey opened a new page with its own Kurds, introduced numerous reforms, invested billions of dollars in the Kurdish areas and made the Kurds equal and free citizens of the Republic".
He added that Turkey had developed comprehensive political, economic and cultural relations with Iraqi Kurds. "The PKK propagandists who present the PKK as a peace dove turn a blind eye to these simple facts." he added.
Kalin said that Turkey's “solution process” with the PKK wanted to bring an end to armed violence, but not to whitewash or legitimize the PKK.
“The reality is that PKK is not the Kurdish people and the Kurds are not the PKK. The peace process which President Erdoğan has pursued since 2005 does not aim to whitewash or legitimize the PKK but bring an end to armed violence.
“The most critical stage in the ‘solution’ process is the disarmament of the PKK. But the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) and PKK keep coming up with excuses not to do so; instead, it foolishly blames the Turkish government when in fact it has carried out more than 300 terrorist attacks since June 7 elections alone,” the presidential aide said.
He pointed out that the KCK had rejected the disarmament process and instead called for more street violence and attacks despite a call from PKK's imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan for disarmament.
"One of the worst incidents of this sort was the Oct. 6-8, 2014 events when close to 50 civilians were killed in street clashes called by Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair [Selahattin] Demirtas," he said.
He accused the pro-Kurdish HDP of failing to pursue an independent policy. “It is clear by now that the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which sees itself as closely allied with the PKK, cannot pursue a policy independent of the PKK; hence it cannot condemn PKK attacks and call on the PKK to disarm. This will only lead to the demise of the HDP's legitimacy,” he said.
About the future of the “solution process” with PKK, he said: "At this juncture, the future of the solution process depends on the PKK's disarmament. No democracy will accept peace negotiations when terrorist attacks continue".
Terming Turkey's offensive against ISIL and the PKK as "right and justified," Kalin called on "those who oppose all forms of terrorism genuinely without holding a double standard" to support Turkey in its efforts for regional peace and stability.Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Ağustos 2015, 13:18