ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 8 (UPI) — Police forces in Turkey won’t be able to take on Kurdish militants with the same effectiveness as the national military, a retired general said.
Ankara announced it was planning to extend police operations in southern parts of the country as part of counter-terrorism operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
Ilker Basbug, former chief of the Turkish General Staff, who retired last year, questioned whether the police was the right force to handle the operation.
“No one can conduct an anti-terrorism fight in rural and mountainous regions except military troops,” he was quoted by Turkish daily newspaper Today’s Zaman as saying. “This (the police proposal) would be ridiculous.”
A PKK attack in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir killed 13 soldiers last month. Iran and Iraq are bickering over Iran’s military operations along the border targeting PKK affiliates in the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan.
“There are military posts and units deployed over vast areas to limit the movements of terrorist groups,” said Basbug. “If those areas are left unattended, this would give the terrorists a wide range in which to maneuver.”