The Turkish foreign minister on Feb. 15 strongly criticized the Western countries over their “double standards” and “selective approach” on terrorism.
“Western world’s double standard on terrorism and its selective approach about ‘good terrorist’ and ‘bad terrorist’ continue,” said Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Twitter, using hashtags #PKKisaHeinousTerroristOrganisation and #PKKExecutesCivilians.
The top Turkish diplomat shared his message both in Turkish and English.
Turkey identifies citizens executed by PKK terrorists
Turkey has identified 10 of its 13 citizens, who were abducted and executed by the PKK terror group in northern Iraq, an official said on Feb. 14.
Aydın Baruş, the governor of Turkey’s eastern province of Malatya, said at a news conference that an autopsy was being conducted for the killed citizens, including security personnel abducted by the terror group between 2015 and 2016.
According to Baruş, the abducted individuals were moved across various locations in northern Iraq for about six years and eventually brought to a PKK prison in the Gara region, where they were shot at close-range. One was shot in the chest and the other 12 in the head.
Most of the executed citizens were forcibly abducted by the terror group while they were traveling within Turkey. Among them are police officers Sedat Yabalak and Vedat Kaya, Sgt. Hüseyin Sarı, Sr. Sgt. Semih Özbey, Pte. Adil Kavaklı, Gendarmerie Pte. Süleyman Sungur, Specialized Sgt. Mevlüt Kahveci, Pte. Müslüm Altuntaş and two civilians, Muhammet Salih Kanca and Aydın Köse.
He denied the terror group’s claims that the individuals were killed in Turkish strikes.
Baruş said that the family members of the victims will be brought to Malatya so that they can identify the bodies.
He added that a ceremony will be held for the citizens in Malatya and expressed his condolences to the Turkish nation.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar earlier said a total of 48 PKK terrorists – including two senior operatives – were neutralized as part of Turkey’s military operation against a PKK hideout in Gara.
Turkish authorities use “neutralized” to imply that the terrorists in question surrendered, or were killed or captured.
The bodies of the citizens were found in the cave which was captured following intense clashes, according to Akar.
PKK terrorists often use northern Iraq as a base to plan cross-border terrorist attacks on Turkey.
World condoles with Turkey
Turkey received messages of condolence from around the world over the terror attack.
The U.S. State Department issued a statement on the incident, saying America stands with its NATO ally Turkey and offered its condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in northern Iraq.
The United States deplores the death of Turkish citizens […] We stand with our NATO Ally Turkey and extend our condolences to the families of those lost in the recent fighting. If reports of the death of Turkish civilians at the hands of the PKK, a designated terrorist organization, are confirmed, we condemn this action in the strongest possible terms,” it said.
“I was deeply saddened by the news that Turkish soldiers and civilians lost their lives in northern Iraq. I offer our condolences to Turkey and allies and to those affected at this difficult time,” said British Ambassador to Turkey Dominick Chilcott on Twitter.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev conveyed his condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the attack.
“We are extremely outraged by this horrific act of terrorism against civilians and strongly condemn all manifestations of terrorism.”
Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar, Prime Minister Ersan Saner and Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu also offered their condolences.
Tatar condemned the terror attack and said: “On behalf of myself and the Turkish Cypriot people, I extend my condolences to 13 brothers and their families, relatives and the Turkish nation.”
Hurriyet Daily News