World Bulletin / News Desk
Newly appointed Police Chief of Diyarbakır Recep Güven has said everyone shares some responsibility for youths taking up arms and joining the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), noting that the problem in the country's Southeast will not be resolved unless tears are also shed for PKK militants killed in clashes with security forces.
Güven's taboo-breaking statements came during a meeting with journalists in a coffee house in Diyarbakır on Sunday.
He said the region where Diyarbakır is located has produced many valuable people in the past, with its beautiful geographical and historical texture, but that the region is today raising “monsters” due to a lack of supervision and control.
“It is because of our failure to reach out to people, to provide human-based services, not because of any other reason. If one youth is going up to the mountains [to join the PKK], we all have responsibility for this. How can we not self-criticize?” he said.
Güven, who spent five years in Diyarbakır as an intelligence officer in the 1990s, has recently returned to the province as its police chief from the eastern province of Siirt.
He said he had read hundreds of reports about the lives of young people who join the PKK and discovered that these individuals join the terrorist group due to the poor circumstances of their lives.
“These children wrote, ‘I want to contribute to our war of national independence.' This is their final sentence. When I ask one of them how old he is he says, ‘12.' His father is jobless and beats his mother. The social environment is terrible. He cannot perpetuate this life. He says, ‘I will fight.' He is fleeing from the circumstances he is in. If one of the reasons for this escape is me, the other reason is you. This means there is certainly a problem in this society. If we don't mention this, how will we be able to solve it?” asked Güven.
Turkey has lost around 40,000 people in its fight against the PKK since the militant organization took up arms in 1984. The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the United States, has stepped up its violence over the past years, killing hundreds of civilians and members of the security forces. Many link the PKK's emergence with the harsh policies implemented by the state against Turkish Kurds in the past decades. Turkey has recently begun taking significant steps to allow Turkish Kurds to enjoy broader political and cultural rights.
Güven also said the state exists to serve its people, and he believes that a person's life has priority over the state.
“You let the people live so that the state can live,” Güven added.