Turkey welcomes Belgian crackdown on terrorist PKK
Turkey is pleased with this week's operation in Belgium against the terrorist PKK, said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday. Speaking to reporters in Ankara alongside his visiting New Zealander counterpart Murray McCully, Davutoglu thanked Belgian authorities for their cooperation. Belgian police launched a wide-scale operation against terrorist groups on Thursday morning, raiding 25 locations, including the studios of Rok-TV, the PKK's broadcast arm, in the town of Denderleeuw near Brussels. The police arrested several members of the organization, including Remzi Kartal, a former legislator of the dissolved Democratic Party, and his assistant Zubeyr Aydar. "We are very pleased because Belgium fulfilled its responsibility," said Davutoglu, declining to elaborate on details of the operation. "We truly appreciate the responsible and determined stance of the Belgian authorities. We hope that terrorists won't be able to find suitable platforms for their acts in Europe. Belgium's stance, following actions by Italy and France, is a clear message to those who provide resources to acts of terror." For his part, McCully said they discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations, including trade and economic relations. McCully said New Zealand's prime minister would attend the commemoration ceremonies in Gallipoli this year, adding that with such high-ranking visits opportunities would be created for meetings of representatives not only from politics but also from the business world. He also said that they exchanged views on the key role Turkey has taken in the region. Touching on joint efforts against terrorism, McCully said New Zealand recently declared the PKK a terrorist group, adding that it would continue to work with Turkey against terrorism. In related news, French, Italian and German security forces staged similar crackdowns on terrorist PKK-affiliated individuals, groups and organizations yesterday.