Tuesday, July 12, 2016

US: Cant confirm PKK leader (Bahoz Erdal) killed

Daily Press Briefing Index Monday, July 11, 2016
2:11 p.m. EDT
Briefer: John Kirby, Spokesperson

My Qs and As w Spokesperson Kirby - Turkey

QUESTION: Thank you, John. I got Turkey-related questions today for -- MR KIRBY: I’m shocked.
QUESTION: First from --
MR KIRBY: Totally shocked.

Turkey-Syria Rapprochement?
QUESTION: First one Syria, Syria/Turkey. Today, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stated that there are actually not many reasons for Turkey to fight with Syria; on the opposite, actually there are many reasons for Turkey to have good relations with Syria, which assuming he intends to say Syrian regime. How do you see these signs coming from Ankara that may be another rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus?
MR KIRBY: Well, I’ll let Turkish officials speak to those comments. I mean, I’ve seen them, but they should have to characterize those comments. What I will say is Turkey is a NATO ally, Turkey’s a key partner in the coalition, Turkey has been cooperative and helpful with respect to going after Daesh inside Syria materially and in many other ways. They also continue to have a very tough refugee problem on their side of the border more than 2 million that they are caring for and have done so nobly. And I would add that they are they continue to make efforts to shut down the flow of foreign fighters across their borders. So Turkey’s engaged. Turkey’s involved. This isn’t – as I said, it’s not a theoretical exercise for them. It’s real and it’s right on their border.
So we would look, for our part, for that cooperation to continue. We would look for Turkey to continue to contribute to coalition efforts. And we are in constant communication with Turkish officials about how to better effect that kind of coordination and how to better make those improvements and how to improve the way that together we’re all going against a common enemy.

US: Cant confirm PKK leader killed
QUESTION: Over the weekend, there was a news that one of the PKK leaders got hit in northern Syria, which is within the Syrian part of the Kurdish part of Syria. Have you had any kind of confirmation on that? Bahoz Erdal is the name of the PKK leader.
MR KIRBY: I do not.

US: we are studying HRW report on Cizre
QUESTION: Okay, one within Turkey. Just today, Human Rights Watch released a report and saying that Turkey is blocking investigations demand from UN United Nations official of High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as from the human rights groups into the displacements and the unlawful killings of civilians. These are the alleged abuses that are made by this the Turkish Government within the last months, which the people could number about half a million Kurds within Turkey forced to leave their places. Do you have any comment on that one?
MR KIRBY: We’re only just now aware of this human rights report. We’re working our way through it. I don’t have specific opinions to render on any of these findings. Obviously, these are serious issues. These raise serious concerns. But until we’ve had a chance to go through the Human Rights Watch report it would be, I think, imprudent for me to comment one way or another with respect to the findings.
Obviously, broadly speaking, we take all allegations of mistreatment of refugees or innocent civilians very, very seriously. And to the degree any such charges are true, we’d like to see them fully investigated, fully and transparently investigated, and those responsible be held to account. But that’s broadly speaking. I don’t have specific things to address with this particular report.

QUESTION: A final one. These allegations about -- 
MR KIRBY: Are you sure? (Laughter.) 

US: We are taking these human rights violation allegations in Turkey very, very seriously
QUESTION: These allegations about the treatment of the Turkish Government in the southeast of Turkey have been going on for months, since last summer, and these questions have been asked to you many, many times.
MR KIRBY: As I said, we take these kinds of allegations very, very seriously. Nobody wants to see those things occur. And we continue to urge Turkey to fully investigate and to examine these. But you asked me a specific question about a report that just got issued, and we’re still working our way through that. But again, broadly speaking, we take this very, very seriously. 

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