Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday (January 10) security operations against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants will continue until every area is “cleansed from terrorists”.
In an address to members of his AK Party, Davutoglu said Turkey is determined to deal with the PKK which first took up arms in 1984 to push for greater autonomy in the largely Kurdish southeast.
“We determine the duration of the operations by how much we achieved our goals. Our fight against terror will continue with utmost determination until all mountains and cities are cleansed from these murderers and every street in every city and every district becomes safe,” Davutoglu said.
The violence has preoccupied the NATO member’s armed forces and complicated international efforts to fight Islamic State in neighbouring Syria, where a Kurdish group linked to the PKK is fighting the jihadists. Western allies want Turkey to focus more squarely on the threat from Islamic State.
Security forces killed 32 Kurdish militants in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast this weekend, the army and security sources said on Sunday (January 10), escalating a conflict reignited by the collapse of a two-year ceasefire last summer.
It was one of the bloodiest weekends since the three-decades-old insurgency resumed last July, scuppering a peace process launched by Ankara with the jailed leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in late 2012.
The military said that a total of 448 militants had been killed in those three areas since they were placed under round-the-clock curfew and security operations were launched last month. Dozens of civilians and soldiers were also killed. Some of the funerals could not be pulled from the streets because of heavy fighting.
In southeast province of Diyarbakir, families urged the government to recover the bodies of their children from Sur district where a round-the-clock curfew was underway for a month.
Mehmet Oran, whose son Isa Oran, was killed in clashes said that the government should deliver the bodies to families as soon as possible so they can hold funeral ceremonies.