No letup in counterterror fight as PKK escalates terror attacks

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 19.08.2016 00:45
Updated 19.08.2016 11:37

In a severe escalation of terrorist attacks, the PKK has carried out three attacks within the space of two days, killing 12 people and injuring hundreds. President Erdoğan says the government is determined to eliminate all terrorist threats, including the PKK and FETÖ

While Turkey continues to hunt for members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), who are responsible for the July 15 coup attempt, the PKK terrorist organization has recently intensified its bombing attacks, launching three separate attacks in the last two days, leaving at least 12 people dead and hundreds wounded. A car bomb exploded on Thursday in front of the Police Department Headquarters in the eastern province of Elazığ, killing at least three people and injuring 146 others, adding to a week of attacks in the region.

The Elazığ Governorate confirmed in a statement that three police officers were killed in the attack and 146 people, including civilians, were injured. Fourteen of those wounded remain in a critical condition in local hospitals. Speaking at the Presidential Compound in Ankara, Erdoğan said that the PKK's only aim is to target the peaceful order in the region and shed blood. He vowed to retaliate in kind against the PKK's recent attacks. He also drew attention to Turkey's ongoing war with FETÖ and the PKK, contending that FETÖ had aided and abetted the PKK in its recent attacks. He slammed the West for leaving Turkey alone in its fight against terrorism. The PKK's Syrian wing YPG's actions in northern Syria pose a national security problem for Turkey, Erdoğan said, adding that Turkey will intervene if necessary.

"Since July 15, security forces have killed 182 PKK terrorists, detained 3,000 suspected members, 318 of whom were arrested," he said, while assuring that those responsible for attacks against Turkey will pay dearly.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Turkish Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar travelled to Elazığ after the blast. They visited the scene of the bombings and were briefed on the tragedy by local authorities, before speaking with locals near the blast site and hearing their concerns.

Speaking in Elazığ, Yıldırım said that FETÖ had failed in its attempt to defeat Turkey and asserted that the PKK is now attempting to take over. He underscored that no terrorist organization can defeat the nation and that Turkey will never kneel down before them.

He asserted that the government will continue to make every effort to restore order in the region and defied any actor in or out of the country who tries to disrupt Turkey's peaceful state.

The epicenter of the bombing left a gaping pit two meters deep and five meters wide, and the reverberations of the bomb were felt throughout the city. Early footage taken from the scene shows smoke rising from the area and a large building complex with extensive damage. The residences of police officers, located near the point of the explosion, were also damaged in the blast.

Another PKK attack took place yesterday, killing at least five people in the eastern province of Bitlis. At least five soldiers and a village guard were killed and five other soldiers were injured when PKK terrorists detonated explosives as an armored vehicle carrying soldiers was passing by.

The injured soldiers were transferred to a public hospital in the city center of Bitlis.

Aerial units were deployed to the area to capture the terrorists.

The PKK also targeted the eastern province of Van late on Wednesday. Three people, including a police officer, died in the attack in Van, which left more than 70 people injured.

Van Governor İbrahim Taşyapan said PKK terrorists had detonated a car bomb near a police station in the İpekyolu district shortly after 11 p.m. local time on Wednesday.

Taşyapan said a suspect had been caught during the police operations after the attack and also confirmed that many buildings in the area had been damaged.

Zahir Soğanda, the provincial head for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), said: "The people of Van will not be discouraged by this incident. These are desperate acts by the terror organization to try to break the resistance of the people of Van, something they will never achieve."

Main opposition leader ready to lend support to government

Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), pledged his full support to the government yesterday in the fight against terrorism, asserting that CHP is ready to do whatever is necessary to tackle terrorism.

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