Turkey’s Erdogan urges Europe to stop backing Kurdish rebels
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called on European countries to stop supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), days after a bombing claimed by Kurdish rebels that killed 35 people.
Erdogan warned Europe its cities faced the kind of repeated attacks that Turkey has suffered in recent months, some of which have been claimed by Kurdish fighters and others blamed on the Islamic State group.
“Despite this clear reality, European countries are paying no attention, as if dancing in a minefield,” he said.
The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a radical Kurdish group with ties to the PKK, claimed responsibility for the suicide car bombing that ripped through a busy transport hub in the capital Ankara on Sunday.
Turkish officials say the little-known TAK is a front for PKK attacks on civilian targets, but the PKK, which is embroiled in a bloody conflict with Turkish security forces, claims the TAK is a splinter group over which it has no control.
The TAK already claimed a car bombing in Ankara last month that killed 29 people.
The PKK launched an insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984 for greater autonomy for Kurds, a conflict that has claimed some 40,000 lives and seen it blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate Turks killed in the 1915 Battle of Gallipoli Erdogan again used the minefield metaphor to describe the terror threat, telling European governments: “You can never know when you will step on a mine. But it is clear that it is inevitable.”
He criticised Belgium in particular for allowing the PKK to erect a tent behind the EU Council building in Brussels, where European leaders were locked in talks Friday with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on tackling the migrant crisis.
“Be honest,” said Erdogan. “This means surrendering to terror. They have surrendered to terror.”