Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that “DAESH is not different than PKK and both are terror organisations which directly target Turkey.”
During a speech broadcast live on television, Erdogan said both terror organisations attack Turkey, as the country has been determinedly fighting against them.
Touching on the recent anti terror operations to capture PKK terrorists in southeastern provinces of the country, the president said the operations mainly aim to provide security and wellbeing to the Kurdish people of the region.
Erdogan also replied to criticism articulated in a joint declaration by academicians which claim that the anti terror operations also harm civilians and that curfews limit their freedom.
“Turkey does not have any problem with its Kurdish citizens. Turkey’s only problem is with terrorism which also troubles many other countries,” he said.
“However, these ostensible intellectuals oppose the government which protect people and the lands of our country against the terror organisation, claiming that individual rights are violated with the operations.”
“The government is not the one that violates the freedoms and rights of the people, it is the terror organisation itself,” Erdogan said.
Anti terror operations ongoing in southeast of Turkey
Meanwhile, the Turkish military said on Tuesday that nearly 600 PKK terrorists were killed since counter-terror operations were launched across the southeast last month.
Operations have been completed in Nusaybin and Dargecit in the Mardin province and are ongoing in Diyarbakir’s Sur district as well as Cizre and Silopi in Sirnak.
Sur, a historic area of the region’s largest province Diyarbakir, has been under military curfew since Dec. 2, effectively sealing off the district.
The security forces’ operations have resulted in the deaths of 91 terrorists while more than 50 barricades and ditches have been removed.
Terrorist organisation PKK erects such barriers to impede the security forces.
In Silopi and Cizre, 387 PKK terrorists were killed, according to the military, and more than 500 barriers were removed. More than 900 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were destroyed.
The military also said operations in Silopi would end soon.
Security forces destroyed a total number of 43 IEDs while they removed around 100 ditches and barricades in the Nusaybin and Dargecit distrcits.
The PKK - considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and EU - resumed its 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state in late July.
Since then, almost 300 people including security officials and civilians have been killed in PKK terror attacks.