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

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

The boys had been being held hostage by members of the Kurdistan Employees’ Occasion, or P.Ok.Ok., a Maoist guerrilla motion that has been combating the Turkish state for greater than three a long time. Turkish troopers found their our bodies in a cave throughout a navy operation in Iraq’s Gara area, the federal government stated Sunday. The entire hostages had been executed, all however one with gunshots to the top, it stated.

The loss of life toll, and the style through which the lads had 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 lads’s launch and had risked a navy operation to rescue them.

The P.Ok.Ok. stated the deaths had been brought on by airstrikes in the course of the Turkish navy operation that started on Feb. 10. The Turkish minister of protection, Hulusi Akar, stated that the P.Ok.Ok. commander in cost had executed the lads as quickly because the operation started.

Twelve of the hostages who’ve been recognized had been junior members of the military and navy police. All had been captured 5 – 6 years in the past by the P.Ok.Ok. 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 house 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.Ok.Ok. 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 companies had been unyielding of their pursuit of navy operations, he stated. Talking on Arti TV, he additionally criticized the P.Ok.Ok. for holding the hostages for thus lengthy.

The incident might show politically damaging for Mr. Erdogan, however may additionally 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 loss of life. 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 in opposition to the P.Ok.Ok. in his speech, and stated that america and the pro-Kurdish political occasion in Turkey had been additionally liable for the troopers’ deaths.

He blamed america for supporting and arming the Individuals’s Safety Models, or Y.P.G., an affiliate of the Kurdish group, which U.S. forces use to combat in opposition to the Islamic State in Syria, although Washington, together with Turkey and the European Union, has designated the P.Ok.Ok. 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 in opposition to the conditional wording of a U.S. State Division assertion issued on the incident, which learn, “If reviews of the loss of life of Turkish civilians by the hands of the P.Ok.Ok., a chosen terrorist group, are confirmed, we condemn this motion within the strongest potential phrases.”

The professional-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Occasion, or H.D.P., is recurrently accused of terrorism for its ties to the P.Ok.Ok. Mr. Erdogan’s criticism might sign of recent wave of oppression in opposition to 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 in opposition to 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 prior to now labored to mediate with the P.Ok.Ok. 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.Ok.Ok. to offer an account of what occurred in an announcement Monday.

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

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

The occasion additionally known as P.Ok.Ok. to launch different captives of their arms.

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