Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus has said that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party)-led Turkish government will not submit to PKK terrorist organisation “trench politics” which have placed a heavy burden on civilians living in Turkey’s southeast and eastern regions.
Kurtulmus said, “This process [digging trenches] should end from now on. [PKK] should give up digging trenches and developing a political agenda through trenches,” speaking to journalists, following the latest cabinet meeting on Dec. 14.
“A democratically-elected government would not surrender to ‘the trench politics’ through which [PKK] tries to turn the region into a hot spot,” Kurtulmus -spokesman for the Turkish government- underlined.
“In a number of the districts [in the region] this fight is going on,” he added.
PKK’s youth wing YDG-H has reportedly dug ditches in a considerable number of districts in southeast and eastern provinces of Turkey where Democratic Regions Party (DBP)-aligned mayors have recently announced declarations of “democratic autonomy.”
The PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, NATO, the US, and EU.
The YDG-H emerged in early 2013 in mostly Kurdish populated cities following the announcement of Turkey’s peace initiative called the “Resolution Process.”
In the beginning of 2013, Turkey announced its “Resolution Process” aimed at resolving the armed conflict and the PKK seemed responsive until mid-July 2015, under the instructions of its imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan.
DBP is an offspring of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) which is also predecessor of the Peoples’s Democratic Party (HDP). DBP has usually organised at district level while HDP has mostly been politically active at provincial and national level representing the aims of the party on the grand political scene.
Kurtulmus has also pointed out that the Turkish government is being tasked to ensure the security of civilians and public workers living in the respective districts and provinces.
“Our problem in the region has been with the elements of the terrorist organisation [PKK]. They need to surrender to us and declare that they quit the trench politics. Then, both the people of the region and Turkey could feel relieved,” he emphasised.
The outlawed PKK has primarily armed in the districts of Silopi and Cizre in the southeastern province of Sirnak, and Nusaybin in Mardin during the “Resolution Process” according to various reports.
Sirnak has a border with Iraq and Mardin has a border with Syria.
In the same districts, the Turkish government considers starting an extensive internal security operation to scatter the network of PKK groups.
Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern regions by PKK terrorists, which was founded in 1974 by Abdullah Ocalan and his supporters in Ankara. Armed clashes and acts of violence have continued on and off for more than 30 years, and claimed more than 40,000 lives.
PKK terror attacks have killed more than 180 security officials and over 30 civilians in Turkey since the group’s umbrella organisation, the KCK, unilaterally ended a two and a half year-long ceasefire with the government on July 11 and threatened Turkey with further attacks.