Turkey’s EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkir accused the European Parliament’s rapporteur for Turkey of losing “neutrality about Turkey’s issues”, days after she visited southeastern Turkey and met with PKK supporters.
In a statement published Monday, Turkish Minister Bozkir said Ankara “cannot accept or tolerate any understanding that describes the terrorist attacks in Turkey, which claim lives of our citizens on a daily basis, as civil war, while condemning terrorism […] only when it takes place in an EU country.”
Bozkir added that it was “obvious that Rapporteur [Kati] Piri […] cannot comprehend the most vital issue of Turkey and also lost her neutrality about Turkey’s issues”.
Bozkir’s statement comes days after the European Parliament’s (EP) rapporteur for Turkey, Kati Piri, and a delegation of other MEPs visited the southeastern Turkish province Diyarbakir last week.
“Should Rapporteur Ms. Piri, who does not describe PKK as a terrorist organization while PKK is on EU’s official list of terrorist organizations, insists on this approach of hers, it will be highly difficult for her to find counterparts to talk in Turkey other than the organizations she visited in Diyarbakir,” the statement added.
Piri alleged that the Turkish Army was keeping civilian homes under continuous fire and did “not make mention of terrorist attacks or the fight against terror in the region in this text,” the statement said. “Instead, what is going on is described as a civil war.”
“It is meaningful that this delegation did not feel the need to visit Ankara, but went directly to Diyarbakir where intensive fighting against the terrorist organization PKK is in progress and also met with organizations overtly supporting PKK terrorist organization,” the statement said.
“Spending a whole day with supporters of PKK, after the funeral of the 28 fellow citizens massacred by a terrorist attack in Ankara and on a day when 7 soldiers were killed by PKK in Sur, is a disrespect to Turkey’s grief as well as to the lives we lost,” it added.
Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern regions by the PKK, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and EU.
The terrorist group resumed its 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state after unilaterally ending a two-year ceasefire in late July 2015.
Since then, more than 300 members of the security forces have died and thousands of PKK terrorists have been killed in operations across Turkey and northern Iraq.