Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Executive Committee member Duran Kalkan has blamed the Turkish government for the recent military casualties in an exclusive interview with Medya Haber TV.
Kalkan accused Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) of persisting with aggressive tactics despite the clear consequences, criticising President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for misleading the public.
As he further condemned the exploitation of casualties for political gain, Kalkan accused the Turkish government of transforming funeral ceremonies into campaign rallies. He questioned the sincerity of the Turkish government’s approach to fallen soldiers and alleged that the AKP is using their deaths for electoral purposes.
“We are not responsible for the dead, the government of Tayyip Erdoğan is. Whoever in Turkey is a democrat, whoever is a patriot, whoever is a lover of the people, whoever is a lover of the youth, let them know that Tayyip Erdoğan and Devlet Bahçeli are responsible. Let the people get a hold of them.
And they use burials to win votes. They have been turning funerals into election campaign rallies. They send the sons of society to kill them and make election propaganda over their dead. They are so hypocritical, so selfish. They use everything for their own interests, even the dead. And they call them martyrs. Is that how you treat a martyr? Is a martyr your election propaganda?”
The PKK executive underlined a series of attacks by the Kurdish guerrillas that allegedly paralysed the Turkish armed forces during their operations against the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan. In the first few days of the latest intensified clashes, the Turkish military reported 12 casualties. However, according to Kalkan, as further counter-operations by the guerrillas unfolded, strict reporting restrictions were imposed in order to downplay the seriousness of the situation. Kalkan claimed that the Turkish media is now selectively reporting the number of soldiers killed.
Kalkan claimed that the current predicament of the Turkish military was a direct result of Turkey’s decision to launch attacks against the PKK in winter conditions. He explained that last year Turkish forces withdrew from certain areas as winter approached and attributed the recent Turkish casualties to the decision to lead soldiers back into previously vacated areas.