İHD chairman calls on gov’t to ‘care about’ its security forces

İHD President Turkdogan held a joint press conference with two deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) — Sanal Saruhan and Murat Emir — family members of six soldiers and police officers, who were kidnapped by the PKK on different occasions.

Turkdogan said a new period of conflict has been under way since late July in Turkey and listed the names of the kidnapped police officers and soldiers. “Police officer Vedat Kaya was kidnapped by the PKK on the Diyarbakır-Bingol highway on July 24. Another police officer, Sedat Yabalak, was abducted on the same highway on July 28. A soldier, Sedat Sorgun, was kidnapped on the Diyarbakır-Lice highway on Aug. 13. The PKK also kidnapped a sergeant, Semih Ozbey, on the Dersim-Erzincan highway on Sept. 18. Furthermore, two soldiers — Muslim Altuntas and Adil Kavak — were abducted by the PKK on the Dersim-Pulumur highway on Oct. 2,” Turkdogan revealed.

The İHD president called on the PKK to release the abducted police officers and soldiers as soon as possible, adding that the government is responsible for taking the necessary security measures to protect its citizens and security force members. Turkdogan also said the government must take any initiative necessary to ensure the release of the abducted security personnel at the earliest possible opportunity.

Kidnapped Sgt. Ozbey’s father, Gursel Ozbey, spoke during the press conference, saying he is concerned about his son’s life, adding that he has not received any information about him since he was taken hostage by the PKK.

“I want to ask our lawmakers in Parliament what they would do if their children were late to return to home by just an hour. For 70 days… We cannot eat, drink or even live. Please find a solution for this as soon as possible. We want our children back,” Ozbey said.

Taking the floor during the press conference, Turkdogan said everybody wants peace in Turkey. “Everybody wants Turkey to return to an atmosphere of peace as soon as possible. I want to highlight the significance of ensuring a peaceful atmosphere inside the country,” said Turkdogan, calling on the state to deal with its own soldiers and police officers.

“You deal with them when they die [in terrorist attacks]. We want you [the state] to care about them when they are still alive. We want this bad habit [of the state] to end. Do not care about people just when they die. Spend efforts to prevent them from being killed and to keep them alive,” he said.

A settlement process was launched in October 2012 between the PKK and the Turkish government in a bid to end the long-standing terrorism problem in the country. However, this process was ended earlier this year in late July.

Turkey began pounding PKK targets in southeast Anatolia and northern Iraq on July 24 after two police officers were killed by the terrorist group, apparently in retaliation for a suicide bombing on July 20 that killed 33 pro-Kurdish activists and was blamed on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Violence has escalated sharply ever since, with the PKK stepping up attacks on security forces in southeast Anatolia. The terrorist group has also been blocking many roads in the region.


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