US backs Turkey’s ‘right to self-defense’ in airstrikes against PKK

Published July 27th, 2015 - 06:13 GMT

The US said Turkey has a right to self-defense, in reference to airstrikes after a recent wave of disputes between the country and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"We strongly condemn the (pro-Kurdish terrorist organization) PKK’s recent terrorist attacks within Turkey, and respect our NATO ally Turkey’s right to self-defense," National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said in a written statement.

On Friday night and Saturday, Turkish air forces bombed, for the first time in the last two-and-a-half years, PKK camps in northern Iraq. Turkey also launched this week attacks against Daesh (ISIS) in Syria.

Turkey’s operation targeting the PKK comes after a string of attacks against Turkish security forces in the country’s southeastern region, believed to have been carried out by the outlawed organization.

The new wave of tension is feared to pose a severe blow to what is known in Turkey as the “solution process,” during which the PKK declared a ceasefire in 2013.

Baskey also called on PKK to "renounce terrorism" and engage with government as part of the "solution process."

"We call on the PKK, which the United States has designated a terrorist organization, to renounce terrorism and re-engage in talks with the Government of Turkey." he added.

"We urge de-escalation by both sides and encourage everyone to remain committed to the peaceful ‘solution process’ to bring about a just and sustainable peace for all Turkish citizens. Violence does not contribute to long-term security and development that benefits all of Turkey’s citizens."

The solution process was launched to end the decades-old conflict with the outlawed PKK, a dispute which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people over more than 30 years in Turkey.

Earlier in the day, US President Barack Obama’s envoy, Brett McGurk, strongly condemned the PKK’s attacks and said the US fully respects “Turkey’s right to self-defense.”

McGurk said on Twitter there was “no connection between these airstrikes against PKK and recent understandings to intensify US-Turkey cooperation against #ISIL [Daesh].”

In a series of tweets sent out Saturday night, Brett McGurk urged Turkey and the PKK to de-escalate tensions and “remain committed to the solution process."

Thirty-two people were killed in the Suruc district of the southeastern Turkish province of Sanliurfa on Monday in a Daesh-suspected suicide attack. This and other attacks on security forces led to the anti-extremism operations in Turkey, which saw hundreds of people, including at least 37 foreigners, detained for connections with "terrorist" groups. 

This story has been edited from the source material. 


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