US envoy’s comments stirs anti-terror debate

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News – 19.10.2012 – Following US Ambassador’s comments hinting that the AKP did not accept a proposal to launch a multi-disciplinary terror approach, opposition parties question the government’s strategy on terror.

Opposition parties yesterday questioned the government’s will to eliminate the terror problem posed by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), after the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey hinted that the ruling party did not accept a proposal to launch a multi-disciplinary approach against terrorism in the manner that Americans did against al-Qaeda.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Prime Minister is the leader of a government that fought against terror to the extent that theUnited States allowed him to do,” Haluk Koç, spokesperson of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) told reporters at a weekly press conference yesterday. “He is not a ruling prime minister but is being ruled.”Ambassador Frank Ricciardone had said that Washington suggested to Turkey the implementation of the TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedure, a means of multi-disciplinary military organization), that paved the way for the killing of Osama bin Laden, the architect of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, during an Oct. 16 meeting in Ankara with the bureau chiefs of news channels. “We have made proposals to Turkey to provide more than we do. We have [offered] to share the TTPs [with them]. I will not enter into the details of our secret works with your government, but the Turkish government is carrying out its works on the basis of its laws and experiences,” Ricciardone said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted that Turkey could not accept the suggestion on the grounds that the U.S. fight against al-Qaeda and Turkey’s fight against the PKK had different conditions. However, Erdoğan’s remarks have been translated by the opposition parties as a confession of the government’s unwillingness to end the problem of terrorism.

Oppositions’ reactions

Oktay Vural, deputy leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said Ricciardone’s statement proved the government’s unwillingness to fight against the PKK, as it had not accepted Washington’s proposal to launch effective operations. “What kind of a model partnership is this? I can’t really understand this,” Vural said at a press conference yesterday. Criticizing the government’s inefficiency in cracking down on the PKK, Vural accused the prime minister of making excuses and of not having the will to end terrorism. “It’s not possible to fight against terror by using the technique of producing excuses … If you receive Barzani [Massoud, leader of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq] as the honored guest, if you legalize PKK’s demands through opening policies, this only means that you fight against terror by giving it morale.”

Gültan Kışanak, co-chairwoman of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), however directed her criticisms against the U.S. ambassador, calling on Ricciardone not to intervene in Turkey’s internal affairs.