There are crucial barriers standing before inter-national cooperation against terrorism, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt said on Tuesday, as he indicated that reaching a consensus among nations on the definition of what constitutes terrorist activity would be the first step in tackling terrorism through international cooperation.
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) -- listed as a terrorist organization by a majority of the international community as well as by Turkey -- and its offshoot Kongra-Gel in northern Iraq, have been nourished by transnational connections in the Middle East and Europe, Büyükanıt said while delivering a keynote speech at the Silk Road-2007 Generals/ Admirals Seminar, which opened Tuesday in Antalya and is hosted by the General Staff.
Noting that the PKK was also benefiting from the chaotic situation in northern Iraq, Büyükanıt added, “While we fight against this terrorist organization and expect international support, we have difficulty in understanding some situations we encounter.”
Only days ago, at a press conference, Büyükanıt made the same complaints saying that that some countries, including Turkey’s allies in NATO, are giving direct or indirect support to the PKK. He said then this was something for the government to tackle. He did not name any countries, but Ankara has criticized the US for failing to crack down on the PKK in Iraq. Turkey has also accused some European countries, including Belgium and Denmark, of providing help to terrorist groups.
If terror is used by a state as a tool for foreign policy, then “terror’s boomerang effect will emerge,” Büyükanıt said Tuesday, soon after his remarks listing state support for terrorism as another crucial barrier in front of the international fight against terrorism.
“Because terror today has become entirely a global threat, no country can maintain peace and security on its soil by ignoring the terrorist threat directed at other countries. That’s why international cooperation against terrorism that is based on a common understanding has a vital impor-tance,” he said, emphasizing that terrorism’s target is not a sole society, culture or civilization, but is the entire humanity and civilization.
“Supporting terrorism or keeping silent in the face of terrorist activities directed at other countries should not be considered as part of national policies. Walls are transparent in the age of globalization so that no relation remains a secret,” Büyükanıt said, in remarks likely to be associated with a claim floated by four ex-PKK members over the weekend.
The four, who handed themselves over to Turkish authorities last weekend after escaping from a PKK camp in northern Iraq, held a press conference on Sunday at a paramilitary base in the southeastern Anatolian province of Şırnak and said they had seen two US armored vehicles deliver weapons to the PKK at their camp.
The US Embassy in Ankara strongly rejected the claim, describing the claim as “ridiculous.”
The claim could not be independently verified, but it is still likely to deepen public suspicions concerning US policy in Iraq.
Today’s Zaman with wires