Turkish president vows to knock down Kurdish rebels

20:28, June 24, 2010      

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Turkish President Abdullah Gul vowed Thursday that his country will knock down Kurdish rebels in a long term and with a wise policy.

Turkey must end terrorism, which is the top priority of the country, Gul said at a conference at the War Academies in Istanbul. The semi-official Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying "we cannot make progress in any fields unless we take this problem entirely under our control."

"Turkey has to overcome this obstacle and avoid this trap. Terrorism has multiple faces and the one that see is the worst. Because it is on ethnic lines and separatism, which makes our task even harder. But our state and our nation have the necessary determination and resolve to end it," Gul was quoted saying.

Turkey's Kurdish rebels intensified attacks over the last couple of weeks. Eleven soldiers were killed in an ambush in southeast Turkey at the weekend and on Tuesday, a roadside bomb rocked a bus carrying military personnel and their families in Istanbul, killing four soldiers and a 17-year-old daughter of an officer.

Police and armed forces stepped up security across the country for fear that Kurdish rebels would target their attacks on tourist resorts, like what they did in the past.

Members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have used northern Iraq as a springboard to stage hit-and-run attacks on Turkish targets in their decades-long campaign for autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast.

The Turkish military said around 4,000 rebels are based just across the border in Iraq and about 2,500 operate inside Turkey.

On Monday, elite commando units rappelled down from helicopters, and mechanized infantry units blocked escape routes of the Kurdish rebels in a major operation along the Iraqi border.

General Ilker Basbug, head of the military, said that "it is our duty to find and eliminate terrorists wherever they are," adding that the military has been flying drones, bought from Israel, over northern Iraq to monitor rebel positions over the past 10 days.

Source: Xinhua


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