Leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli termed the results of a meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and US President George W. Bush at the White House a mere “fiasco.”
Erdoğan and Bush met on Monday to discuss cooperation against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has carried out a series of deadly attacks over the past weeks in Turkey from bases in northern Iraq. Bush said he was committed to countering the militants and offered to share intelligence with Ankara without pledging further support or suggesting a joint military operation against the PKK contrary to expectations.
Speaking at his party’s group meeting yesterday, Bahçeli lamented: “There was no mention of eradication of the PKK, a possible Turkish cross-border operation into northern Iraq, a joint Turkish-US operation against the PKK that would yield effective results, disbanding the PKK camps in northern Iraq, handing over of the PKK leaders to Turkey or cutting logistical support to the PKK, PKK militants in Mahmour and the Kandil Mountains at the Oval Office meeting. Instead, the two leaders beat the air and made special efforts to give a message of unity on some issues of secondary importance. The leaders reached a limited agreement at a time when Turkey has run out of patience [due to PKK violence]. This is a total disappointment. The end result for Turkey has been disappointment and failure.”
Accusing the US of not being willing to take any concrete steps against the PKK, Bahçeli stressed that Erdoğan’s last US visit has once again proved this.
“The prime minister, who went to Washington to get Bush’s approval about the steps to be taken for Turkey’s national security, could not find the support he expected and had to return to Turkey with empty pledges about some ineffective steps.
I would like to mention that I am deeply agitated due to the US adopting such a stance against Turkey and the prime minister placing Turkey in such an embarrassing situation. This meeting has shown that stability of a handful of peshmergas in northern Iraq is more important and of greater priority than Turkey’s security and territorial integrity for our ally, the US,” Bahçeli told his party members.
Bahçeli also directed harsh criticism at the members of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) who acted as mediators for the release of eight Turkish soldiers who were taken hostage by the PKK militants last month.
“The group who signed a so-called handover document at a roadside table with a poster of the İmralı murderer [PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan] has merely shown an example of treason. The desperate events taking place during the release of our soldiers are a clear sign of the separatist PKK’s willingness to start a new term of propaganda to legitimize itself,” Bahçeli added.
Today’s Zaman Ankara