Deaths of Troopers and Policemen Held by Kurdish Guerrillas Roils Turkish Politics

Deaths of Soldiers and Policemen Held by Kurdish Guerrillas Roils Turkish Politics

ISTANBUL — Turks reacted with shock and anger Monday to the information that Kurdish guerrillas had executed 13 Turkish troopers and cops held captive in a cave within the mountains of northern Iraq.

The boys have been being held hostage by members of the Kurdistan Employees’ Occasion, or P.Okay.Okay., a Maoist guerrilla motion that has been preventing the Turkish state for greater than three many years. Turkish troopers found their our bodies in a cave throughout a army operation in Iraq’s Gara area, the federal government stated Sunday. All the hostages had been executed, all however one with gunshots to the pinnacle, it stated.

The dying toll, and the style wherein the boys have been killed, landed like a bombshell in Turkey’s tense and divided politics. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his political allies condemned the assault, as opposition events questioned why the federal government had failed to barter the boys’s launch and had risked a army operation to rescue them.

The P.Okay.Okay. stated the deaths have been attributable to airstrikes in the course of the Turkish army operation that started on Feb. 10. The Turkish minister of protection, Hulusi Akar, stated that the P.Okay.Okay. commander in cost had executed the boys as quickly because the operation started.

Twelve of the hostages who’ve been recognized have been junior members of the military and army police. All had been captured 5 or 6 years in the past by the P.Okay.Okay. in a interval after peace negotiations between the Turkish authorities and the Kurdish guerrillas had damaged down.

The guerrillas typically arrange impromptu roadblocks on distant roads in areas of japanese and southeastern Turkey, and abduct members of the armed forces touring on public buses or non-public automobiles to go dwelling to go to their households and return to their bases.

The boys discovered within the cave had been kidnapped and brought throughout the border into the mountains of northern Iraq, a area that the P.Okay.Okay. has lengthy used as a rear base.

Ozturk Turkdogan, head of the Turkish Human Rights Affiliation stated the group had been in contact with 10 of the hostages’ households since 2015. However regardless of efforts to press for negotiations, the Turkish safety providers had been unyielding of their pursuit of army operations, he stated. Talking on Arti TV, he additionally criticized the P.Okay.Okay. for holding the hostages for therefore lengthy.

The incident may show politically damaging for Mr. Erdogan, however may give him ammunition to whip up nationalist feeling and crack down on his opponents.

He known as the mom of one of many slain troopers throughout a speech broadcast on nationwide tv on Monday, promising to avenge her son’s dying. His political ally, Devlet Bahceli, chief of the Nationalist Motion Occasion, vowed that anybody exhibiting sympathy for the Kurdish group can be handled as a terrorist and confederate.

Mr. Erdogan lashed out towards the P.Okay.Okay. in his speech, and stated that the US and the pro-Kurdish political occasion in Turkey have been additionally chargeable for the troopers’ deaths.

He blamed the US for supporting and arming the People’s Protection Units, or Y.P.G., an affiliate of the Kurdish group, which U.S. forces use to battle towards the Islamic State in Syria, regardless that Washington, together with Turkey and the European Union, has designated the P.Okay.Okay. a terrorist group.

“If we’re along with you in NATO, if we’re to proceed our unity, then you’ll act sincerely towards us,” Mr. Erdogan stated within the speech, made to members of his occasion at a gathering in Rize, in Turkey’s Black Sea area. “Then, you’ll stand with us, not with the terrorists.”

The Turkish international ministry stated it had summoned the American ambassador Monday to protest towards the conditional wording of a U.S. State Division assertion issued on the incident, which learn, “If experiences of the dying of Turkish civilians by the hands of the P.Okay.Okay., a delegated terrorist group, are confirmed, we condemn this motion within the strongest potential phrases.”

The professional-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Occasion, or H.D.P., is usually accused of terrorism for its ties to the P.Okay.Okay. Mr. Erdogan’s criticism may sign of recent wave of oppression towards the occasion, which has seen many elected representatives and activists faraway from their positions and detained.

Anadolu Company, the state-run information service, reported that an investigation had been opened towards two H.D.P. lawmakers, for “provocative” social media posts on the incident when information first broke of the killings on Sunday. The H.D.P. stated Monday that 700 individuals, together with occasion officers, had been detained in a single day across the nation.

Members of the H.D.P. and of the Human Rights Affiliation have up to now labored to mediate with the P.Okay.Okay. and safe the discharge of hostages. The 2 lawmakers being investigated had met with households of the hostages.

The occasion known as on the federal government and the P.Okay.Okay. to present an account of what occurred in a press release Monday.

“The federal government is able to account for the losses to the households of the deceased and to society, as a substitute of asking our occasion to account for them,” the assertion learn.

“Likewise, the P.Okay.Okay. ought to inform the general public of Turkey and the world about how the captives misplaced their lives, which have been entrusted to them, and about their duty for these deaths.”

The occasion additionally known as P.Okay.Okay. to launch different captives of their palms.

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