US, UK express solidarity with Turkey against PKK terrorism
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULJan 16, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jan 16, 2016 12:00 am
The United States and the United Kingdom both reiterated that they stand with Ankara against PKK terror in southeast Turkey, and condemned the recent PKK attack on the Çınar district of southeastern Diyarbakır province.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. will continue to stand with Turkey, a NATO ally, against terrorist threats in Turkey and offered condolences to the families of those killed.
"In addition to the [DAESH] attacks in Indonesia, I do want to note that we also strongly condemn yesterday's terrorist bombings in Diyarbakır in Turkey and extend our condolences again to all those who were affected, killed and wounded as well as their family and friends. Turkey is a friend and a NATO ally, and we will continue to stand with the Turkish people as they continue to deal with very real terrorist threats on their soil," Kirby said.
Previously, in an exclusive interview with Daily Sabah on Thursday, U.S. ambassador to Ankara John Bass said that the PKK should give up policies seeking autonomy as well as the use of violence.
"The PKK needs to cease its attacks and it needs to stop declaring autonomy within zones or neighborhoods or regions inside Turkey. That's an attempt to change political arrangements by force, and that is something we strongly reject," Bass said regarding the PKK, and called the resumption of large-scale violence in the southeast as a great tragedy.
"We believe strongly that the last thing the wider region needs, the last thing that Turkey needs, is more conflict," Bass said, and added that security forces conducting operations should show restraint and precision to avoid killing civilians and a wider impact on communities and civilians.
"We continue to strongly urge both the PKK to stop its attacks, as well as the government to be ready to begin a new, or a resumed, political conversation with people across society about that important political future," Bass said.
Along with Washington, London has also made remarks standing with Ankara against terror.
Addressing a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the annual Ambassadors' Conference in Ankara on Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond described Turkey as a close and valued partner of the U.K., reiterating that the country will stand by Turkey in its fight against terrorism.
"The counterterrorism coalition is vitally important to the security of both countries and to the security of wider region," Hammond said, adding that Turkey was on the front line of the fight against terrorism.
Hammond's visit to Ankara comes three days after a suspected DAESH suicide bomber killed 10 people, mostly German tourists, and wounded 15 others in Istanbul's Sultanahmet Saquare on Tuesday.
About the "shocking terrorist attack," Hammond said: "I reiterated to Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu today that the U.K. will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Turkey and other allies in the struggle against terrorism, wherever it comes from."
Hammond added: "I think Tuesday's attack has only reinforced the vital importance of us working together through this strong United Kingdom-Turkish relationship to combat terrorism and build a close partnership to counter DAESH activities."