Erdogan annnounces ‘Largest Operation in History’ Against Kurds
Humeyra Pamuk, Seda Sezer, Haaretz, Sep 8 2016
Turkey is waging the largest operation in its history against Kurdish militants and the removal of civil servants linked to them is a key part of the fight, Erdogan said on Thursday, as more than 11,000 teachers were suspended. The crackdown comes as Ankara also pushes ahead with a purge of tens of thousands of Gulen supporters. Erdogan has repeatedly said he will not stop in his efforts to quash both the PKK or followers of Gulen, a network Ankara has labeled as the FETO, meaning “Gulen Terror Organization.” Erdogan said:
We have run and are currently running the largest operations against the PKK terrorist organization in its history, both within and across our borders. Whether it’s the struggle against the PKK or against the FETO, an important dimension of this struggle is the removal of civil servants that are extensions of these organization within the state.
Turkey has sacked or suspended 100,000 people following the failed Jul 15 coup. At least 40,000 people have been detained on suspicion of links to Gulen’s network and half of those arrested. There has been no let-up in the government’s campaign against the PKK in the mainly Kurdish south-east. The government suspended 11,500 teachers over alleged links to the PKK after PM Yildirim said during a visit to the region over the weekend that there were an estimated 14,000 teachers with links to the PKK. Security officials and local media reports said the state had appointed administrators to two municipalities in the largely Kurdish south-eastern province of Diyarbakir, although the local governor later denied it. The governor’s office said in a statement:
Reports on the taking over of two mayor’s offices in Diyarbakir do not reflect the truth. There has not been such an appointment at this stage. If there is an appointment, a statement will be made.
Security officials, the private Dogan news agency, and the state-run Anadolu agency earlier said the government appointed the administrators to replace the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), which runs the councils and many across the region and has been dubbed by Erdogan as an extension of the PKK. The DBP is the local partner of Turkey’s national pro-Kurdish opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).