Erdogan: Turkey suffering ‘one of biggest terrorism waves in its history’

Source:  Agencies Published in Terrorism on Monday, March 21, 2016

ISTANBUL – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday his country was suffering one of the biggest waves of terrorism in its history, and vowed to crush the Islamic State and Kurdish rebels behind a string of attacks.

"We will hit these terrorist organisations as hard as possible," he said in a speech following six bombings in eight months that have killed more than 200 people. He also said the PKK and the Islamic State terrorist outfits were serving evil agendas of other forces by carrying out attacks in Turkey.

“When we think about why terrorist outfits such as the PKK and Islamic State are targeting our country, we come across other forces and their intentions about Turkey,” he said. He said that both the terrorist groups had the same end goal and were helping “the dirty agendas” of such forces despite having different names and using different methods.

The Islamic State is suspected of being behind Saturday’s blast on Istanbul’s Istiklal Street, which killed four people, including three Israelis and an Iranian. Also, Erdogan slammed the Belgian government over the recent PKK tent incident in Brussels.

On Thursday, the Belgian government allowed PKK supporters to pitch their tents near the venue of the Turkey-EU summit in Brussels. Although flags of the group were removed ahead of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s visit, they were put back up after his departure.

“They call it 'freedom of thought'. What kind of a freedom of thought is that?” Erdogan asked. “What was I supposed to say? Would I applaud you, and say that you did a good job?" he added.

"As long as you let those rags [flags] fly, you will keep hearing these remarks from us,” he said, adding he asked his prime minister to contact the Belgian authorities, followed by summoning of its ambassador to the foreign ministry.