ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday his country was suffering “one of the biggest waves of terrorism in its history,” vowing to crush the Islamic State and Kurdish rebels behind a string of attacks.
“We will hit these terrorist organisations as hard as possible,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul, following six bombings in eight months that have killed more than 200 people.
Further, Erdogan questioned the EU’s “sincerity” in its support for Turkey’s fight against rebels from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The Turkish president accused Europe of “hypocrisy” over the state’s resurgent battle with the PKK, which has been blacklisted by Turkey and its Western allies as a terror group.
“How can you talk about sincerity when the terrorist organization is allowed to erect a tent in Brussels, outside the European Council building?” he said, referring to a tent set up by Kurdish activists during an EU-Turkey summit last week.
Violence has surged in the mainly Kurdish southeast since a 2-1/2 year ceasefire with the PKK collapsed in July. The militants have focused their strikes on security forces in southeastern towns, triggering a series of curfews.
Security sources said security measures in Diyarbakir were raised to their highest level ahead of the Newroz celebrations, which at the height of the PKK insurgency in the 1990s were marked by clashes between protesters and security forces.