World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has hinted at full-scale military ground action in neighboring Iraq “if necessary”.
Speaking in a wide-ranging TV interview on Thursday on the A Haber channel, Davutoglu said: “Our armed forces and special units enter Iraq when necessary and come back, but we have not yet started a comprehensive ground operation.
“A full-scale operation will be launched, if necessary, just like in 2008," he added.
In February 2008, Turkish forces launched airstrikes in northern Iraq backed by ground troops; the week-long operation was aimed at the terrorist PKK organization which has bases in the mountainous region.
Davutoglu added: "In such a case, all necessary measures will be taken [to ensure the safety of] our soldiers but we have instructed them not to allow any activities that would undermine Turkey's security."
The prime minister also slammed declarations of local self-rule made by some Kurdish mayors in Turkey’s southeast.
“This is not Syria,” said Davutoglu, adding: “Nobody can announce cantons as they wish. In a democratic judicial state the administrative system and its functioning are settled.”
Davutoglu also spoke on out on scenes of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members being barred from going to the town of Cizre in Turkey’s southeast.
The town is currently under curfew.
Davutoglu said: “Every committee, even [his Justice and Development] AK Party committee, has to abide by the measures taken there to restore public order.
“When we say ‘public order’ everybody should follow [the rules].”
The prime minister said that security measures would be lifted “whenever the arms are delivered … whenever the mines are cleared, ditches are closed and conditions exist in which Cizre citizens are able to go around every neighborhood and street”.
“The [curfew] will end whenever necessary but by the time the bakeries are still operating. The necessary food is being supplied to residents. The curfew is not for agonizing the public. The reason for the curfew is to prevent civilian casualties due to the mix of civilians with terrorists.”
Davutoglu said Turkey was using “two means” to combat the ongoing violence.
“Turkey has faced serious terror attacks recently. Yet, we have been attentive to use two means against these.
“One of them is democracy. We never comprised from democracy. The second is public order necessary for safety.
“Democracy and public order are two elements complementing each other. If there is no public order there are no liberties. If democracy and liberties do not exist, public order turns into an authoritarian structure,” he said.
Regarding stalled talks with the jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, Davutoglu said: “There is not a situation which necessitates talks with Imrali [the Sea of Marmara island where Ocalan is imprisoned]. The focal point of previous [talks] was disarmament... The talks in 2013 were framed around this.
“There is no need for talks before creating this type of will, approach or perspective.”
Operations against the PKK – listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and U.S. – came after it renewed attacks on Turkish security forces following the July 20 Suruc bombing that killed dozens of people.Last Mod: 11 Eylül 2015, 08:59