Turkey opens probe into officer’s anti-government remarks
A branch of Turkey’s Armed Forces has launched an investigation into controversial anti-government remarks by a high-ranking military officer.
Turkish media outlets reported on Tuesday that Turkey’s Gendarmerie General Command plans to investigate Lieutenant Colonel Mehmet Alkan’s remarks criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his all-out war on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.
Alkan had made the comments during the funeral ceremony of his younger brother Captain Ali Alkan, who was killed in an attack by PKK militants in southeast Turkey early on Saturday.
“Who is the murderer? Who is the cause of this? Why do those who talked about ‘peace’ up until today now say, ‘War until the end’? Instead of these soldiers, let them [the politicians] fight against the PKK,” the Turkish lieutenant colonel said.
“Those who sit in their palaces [a reference to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s presidential palace] safely with the protection of dozens of bodyguards and those who ride in armored cars cannot talk of being a martyr and cannot praise being a martyr,” Alkan added.
“I’m going to take my fallen [brother] from this place where these scoundrels are and take it to his Regimental Command,” referring to the MPs of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) who were present at the funeral service.
Alkan was killed and three other Turkish soldiers suffered injuries after the PKK militants used rockets and long-range rifles and attacked a detachment of soldiers guarding a hydro-electric dam in the Kulp district of the eastern Diyarbakir Province.
Clashes have been continuing on a daily basis between the PKK and Turkish army since July, after the military started its raids against the organization’s positions in southeast Turkey as well as in northern Iraq, areas where the PKK militants are largely operating.
According to figures published Saturday by Turkey’s state-run Anadolou news agency before the latest incidents, 812 PKK militants had been killed in the campaign while 56 members of the Turkish security forces had lost their lives.
It is not possible to independently verify the death toll for the PKK militants. The PKK has been fighting the Turkish government for separation since 1984.