- Title: Kurdish militants say behind killing of ruling party politician
- Date: 11th October 2016
- Summary: BULLET HOLE ON WINDOW BROKEN WINDOW
- Embargoed: 26th October 2016 13:23
- Keywords: Turkey Kurds security Prime Minister Binali Yildirim
- Location: DIYARBAKIR, ANKARA AND CIZRE, TURKEY
- City: DIYARBAKIR, ANKARA AND CIZRE, TURKEY
- Country: Turkey
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Crime
- Reuters ID: LVA00353K9NPJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
The armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said on Tuesday (October 11) it was behind the killing of an official in Turkey's governing AK Party, the second such shooting in as many days in the country's restive southeast.
Deryan Aktert, who headed the AKP branch in Diyarbakir's Dicle district, was shot and killed in his office late on Monday (October 10), the provincial governor's office said.
The PKK's armed wing said on its website militants had targeted Aktert for his cooperation with the state in its fight against the PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
On Sunday (October 9), assailants killed Aydin Mustu, the AK Party's deputy leader in the Ozalp district of Van, a city 350 km. (215 miles) to the east of Diyarbakir.
Addressing the parliament, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim denounced the killings and vowed to "cleanse Turkey".
"Last night our Dicle president (District of Diyarbakir) was martyred. Traitors must know this - AK party is not a party that will be deterred by you. AK party, our government, will confront this issue to cleanse Turkey from this terrorist organisation," Yildirim said.
In a separate operation, Turkish security forces killed two militants and detained five others in a house raid in Cizre town of Sirnak province, near the Iraqi and Syrian borders.
The PKK, which launched its separatist insurgency in 1984, is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union - a label it rejects.
A two-year-old ceasefire with the PKK collapsed in July 2015, adding to the turmoil in a region already struggling with the civil war in Syria and the rise of Islamic State there and in Iraq.
NATO member Turkey is part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Syria, but it sees advances by autonomy-seeking Kurds, led by the People's Protection Units (YPG), as a threat to its own national security, fearing they could stoke separatism among Turkish Kurds.
Referring to YPG presence in the eastern side of Euphrates, Yildirim said Turkey would not hesitate expanding a military operation in Syria to the east of Euphrates if the government deems necessary.
"We say (we would remain in) the west of Euphrates west but if terror activities continue in east of Euphrates we will do whatever is necessary there," he said.
The role of the Syrian Kurdish YPG has been a sticking point between NATO allies Turkey and the United States. Washington backs the fighters against Islamic State in Syria. Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has carried out a three-decade violent insurgency in its Kurdish southeast.
YPG fighters who advanced to west of Euphrates during a military operation to liberate Syrian town of Manbij retreated to the east of the river after Syrian rebels backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes entered Jarablus, one of Islamic State's last strongholds on the Turkish-Syrian border.
Yildirim also slammed U.S. Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton over her remarks on arming Syrian Kurdish fighters against the Islamic State.
Clinton said at a debate on Sunday (October 9) she would consider giving equipment to U.S.-backed Kurdish militias, despite concerns from "some circles," referring to NATO member Turkey.
"Ms. Clinton last night said on TV that she will support Kurds, terrorist organizations with arming them. What does it mean? Is U.S. our ally? Is NATO our ally in the region? What does it mean to support them with weapons?" Yildirim said.
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