Ankara, Sep 7 () - Following a major attack on Sept. 6 conducted by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern province of Hakkkari, in which the official number of killed and injured soldiers has still yet to be announced, President Tayyip Erdoğan said the PKK used the collapsed peace process to “betray the country by stockpiling arms.”
“They [PKK] evaluated the peace process with treason. They [PKK] used the peace process as a period to stockpile arms for themselves in the southeast and partially in the east. They [PKK] did some serious arms stockpiling” Erdoğan told private broadcaster A Haber late on Sept. 6 in a televised interview.
He stated that during the peace process the Turkish security forces had vowed “not to engage in any kind of clashes” but they had later understood that the PKK had exploited the period as simply a means to stockpile arms.
Erdoğan’s remarks came in response to questions about why attacks had started after the June 7 parliamentary election, when it had been quiet and peaceful while the peace process was still continuing before the polls.
Several Turkish soldiers were killed on Sept. 6 in a major attack in Hakkari’s Dağlıca district, a town bordering Iraq and Iran, by PKK militants, which marked a crescendo in a deadly stream of attacks since July.
The Turkish General Staff issued a statement in the early hours of Sept. 7 about the incident stating that soldiers had been killed and injured in the attack, but it refrained from giving any clear numbers about the casualties.
“There are martyrs and wounded among our heroic brothers-in-arms due to the explosion,” the statement said.
It stated that two armored vehicles had been severely damaged by the detonation of handmade explosives, which were planted on the road beforehand.
On the morning of Sept. 7, a written statement was issued by the presidential media center, which was signed by Erdoğan. The statement condemned the terror attack and said such attempts would never achieve their goals.
“Such attacks, which aim at our nation’s unity and solidarity, brotherhood and future, will never achieve their goal,” read the statement.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu broke off a trip to Konya to watch a national football game and summoned an emergency security meeting with the participation of officials including Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan. The meeting ended after two hours without any public statement.
The General Staff statement added that two F-4s and two F-16s carried out strikes in retaliation to 13 targets controlled by militants suspected to have carried out the attack. “Despite very bad weather conditions, the operation is continuing decisively” it stated.