Turkey vows to press ahead with strikes on Kurdish militants

AFP , Monday 27 Jul 2015

Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu (Photo:Reuters)

Turkey on Monday said it would press ahead with military operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) until the group disarmed.

"We will continue our fight... until we obtain a certain result," Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told ATV television channel, urging the group, which has waged a decades-long insurgency in southeastern Turkey, to deliver on its 2013 promise to lay down arms.

"It is either weapons or democracy. The two cannot stand together," he said.

Turkey, which considers the PKK a terrorist organisation, launched peace negotiations with the group's jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan in 2012, but the two sides have yet to reach an accord.

Ankara has expanded the cross-border campaign against Islamic State in Syria it began last week to include PKK positions in northern Iraq, after deadly attacks inside Turkey blamed on the Kurdish separatists.

A statement from Davutoglu's office confirmed Sunday's aerial bombardment of Kurdish targets in neighbouring northern Iraq.

"The shelters, logistical spots, depots as well as caves used by the PKK terrorist organisation were hit during the air strikes (on Sunday) with modern and classical ammunition," according to the statement.

Turkey has also stepped up its campaign against IS militants after a suicide bombing in a Turkish border town last week that was blamed on the jihadists.

"We don't want to see Daesh on the Turkish republic's border," Davutoglu said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

Turkish police had so far rounded up over 1,000 militants with suspected links to IS as well as the PKK and other far-left organisations, he said.

Up to 60 of those detained were foreigners, he added.

"We are targeting those who target Turkey," said Davutoglu, adding that Ankara was "determined to take any kind of measure to ensure Turkey's safety, stability and peace in the face of all terrorist activities."

In newspaper comments published on Monday, Davutoglu said Turkey would not send ground troops into Syria.

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