Emine Kart, Ankara
Ankara's efforts on the diplomatic front to cement a firm stance among the international community -- which already condemns armed attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) but has not yet taken firm action against it -- have recently gained a new momentum with a Foreign Ministry initiative to carry the issue to the agenda of international bodies such as the UN and NATO.
Only a day after the May 22 attack, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer released a statement strongly condemning the attack and said: “The Allies stand in solidarity with Turkey and the Turkish people in the face of terrorism. … NATO remains united and determined in the fight against terrorism.”
In December 2006 de Hoop Scheffer had stated that the international organization would not undertake a special mission in the fight against the PKK presence in northern Iraq. He said at the time it was never a matter of debate within the organization whether it would help fight against the terrorist organization in northern Iraq and added that they have received no request from the Iraqi government on the issue.
Meanwhile, Council of Europe Secretary-General Terry Davis, who also condemned the attack in Ankara, saying: “I am revolted by the most recent ruthless terror attack in Turkey. Killing people while they go about their everyday lives is murder, and the people responsible for this atrocious act of violence are criminals, whatever cause they claim to pursue,” sparked harsh reactions from the Turkish capital as he met with PKK supporters in Strasbourg only two days after the attack.
Davis met with those PKK supporters who have called on the Council of Europe to send an independent team of doctors to the Turkish jail where PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is being held to ascertain whether he is being poisoned.
“Such a meeting cannot be justified with any reasoning, and it has cast a shadow over the Council of Europe's determination against international terror,” Ambassador Daryal Batıbay, Turkey's permanent representative to the Council of Europe, said during a tense meeting with Davis.
Batıbay also told Davis that among those with whom he met were PKK members for whom Interpol has issued a red bulletin. The same expressions were used in a letter presented to Davis by Batıbay at the order of the Foreign Ministry in Ankara, diplomatic sources said.