Turkish general admits framing Kurds

The Turkish military is investigating a retired general who told a weekly magazine that he had ordered bomb attacks in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey while he was stationed there in the 1990s.

    Erdogan is under pressure to root out rogue security elements

    Retired general Altay Tokat told the Turkish news weekly Yeni Aktuel that he ordered the attacks near to the homes of two civil servants in what he described as a move to intimidate them and make them understand the gravity of the situation.

    Tokat told the magazine: "The civil servants, the judges who come from western Turkey do not realise how serious the situation is [in the southeast]... They  walk around without a care, do what they want," he was quoted as saying.
      
    "So to get them to shape up, I had [the bombs] thrown at two spots close to their homes," he said.
     
    He described the attacks as carefully planned acts of  "psychological warfare" that harmed no one, but did not further identify the targets of the attacks, nor the town where they took place.

    The retired general's remarks were in response to comments defending a deadly hand grenade attack on a Kurdish-owned bookstore in November 2005, in Semdinli, for which two soldiers were each sentenced to nearly 40 years' imprisonment last month.

    "What are we supposed to do? Stand by while he (the store owner) carries messages to the PKK? This (the grenade attack) is called acting outside the law? Such law is unacceptable," Tokat told the magazine.

    Ankara is under pressure from both the Turkish public and the EU to shed light on alleged rogue elements in the security forces accused of summary executions, extortion, kidnappings and drug-smuggling in the southeast in the 1990s.

    The Kurdish conflict in Turkey has claimed more than 37,000  lives since the PKK took up arms in 1984; both the rebels and the Turkish security forces have been accused of grave human rights violations in the conflict.

    The magazine described Tokat as a "three-star general" who retired in 1999 at the end of a 39-year career, during which he was decorated three times, and who now serves on the central executive  board of the far-right Nationalist Action Party.

    SOURCE: AFP


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