Turkish Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus stresses importance of fight against terror organisations such as PKK and FETO/PYD
The PKK terror organisation is getting more foreign support than ever before, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Wednesday.
Formed in the late 1970s, the terrorist group has waged an armed and violent campaign against the Turkish state since 1984 and is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
PKK activity and terrorist attacks have caused tens of thousands of military and civilian deaths over the past decades.
Speaking at the Anadolu Agency's Editors' Desk in Ankara, Kurtulmus emphasised the increase of foreign support for the PKK. Moreover, he warned of revisionism over the PKK's image and the attempt to paint the terrorist organisation to a "disciple of peace."
Kurtulmus said that foreign logistics support enabled PKK terrorists to "set up traps" against Turkish security personnel.
Kurtulmus stressed Turkey's seriousness and consistancy concerning its fight against PKK terrorism until group is defeated.
Kurtulmus said that terror was not just a matter of fighting a thousand militants, but a perpetual process for Turkey, so that they were dealing with it in a serious manner.
"Hopefully, we will get results. However, it would be misleading to give an exact date as to when this will end," he said.
An effort to disarm the PKK peacefully began in March 2013, when both sides agreed a ceasefire, but ended in July 2015 when the KCK, the PKK's umbrella organisation, issued a statement declaring that the truce was cancelled.
Since then, over 350 Turkish security personnel have died and more than 5,000 PKK terrorists have been killed in operations across Turkey and northern Iraq.
Kurtulmus also mentioned the government's fight against a "parallel state" made up of members of the Gulen movement.
The movement is headed by Fetullah Gulen, a US-based Islamic preacher who runs a network of schools and commercial enterprises in Turkey and around the world.
The movement has been accused of controlling a clandestine group of bureaucrats and senior officials allegedly embedded in Turkey's institutions, including the judiciary and the police.
"We have to protect the state and the nation. We would not accuse anyone unjustly or attack their individual rights. The struggle against FETO is one that is being carried out in a lawful manner, and it will continue," Kurtulmus said.
Since early 2014, investigations into the parallel state have seen hundreds of civil servants, including police and public prosecutors, arrested or reassigned.
Dozens of people were detained on Tuesday in nationwide operations as part of an investigation into the financial activities of the Gulen movement.
According to the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Department in Ankara, 68 suspects, including ministry staff, businessmen, teachers, lecturers and former chiefs of police were detained in simultaneous operations carried out in 20 provinces on Tuesday morning.