Despite the currently ongoing peace process between the PKK and the Turkey government, the Turkish ambassador to Sri Lanka, Iskender Okyay has welcomed the Sri Lanka model of counterinsurgency (COIN) to deal with ‘terrorism’, stating that “Sri Lanka’s experience in fighting against terrorism could be a good example for Turkey” and adding that “the relationship between the countries could be deepened over the terrorism issue,” the Turkish nationalist news agency Today’s Zaman reported on Wednesday. Commenting on this, Kurdish activists in Europe told TamilNet that the Turkish diplomat’s endorsement of Sri Lanka’s genocidal model of COIN at a time when the Kurdish political movement was having faith in a peaceful settlement shows the insincerity of Turkey towards the peace process, besides being an tacit approval of the genocide of the Eezham Tamil nation.
Yuksel from Kurdish Federation, UK said that the comments of the diplomat in the article show the wish of the Turkish state to suppress the Kurds. “They have that dream but their dream will never come true. This article shows that International Community has not done enough for Tamils and terrorist states are using the example to crush movements who fighting for freedom,” he told TamilNet.
Turkey’s political leaders and analysts have advocated the Sri Lankan model of COIN to deal with the PKK led Kurdish struggle several times after May 2009.
In an interview to the Today’s Zaman on Wednesday, Mr. Okyay, “the first ever Turkish ambassador to Sri Lanka”, seemed eager to promote Turkey-Sri Lanka ties, especially in ‘combating terrorism’.
“Sri Lanka has been enjoying peace for four years now. Terrorism should be ended one way or another. In Turkey we are not fighting against an ethnic group but against a terrorist group, the same way Sri Lanka was,” Okyay was cited as saying.
Mr. Okyay further said that the Sri Lankan President would be visiting Turkey in the coming months.
The Turkish diplomat seemed to mirroring the views expressed by his Sri Lankan counterpart in Turkey earlier.
In June 2012, Today’s Zaman had published an interview with Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Turkey, Bharati Davina Wijeratne, where the Sri Lankan diplomat, while lauding Turkey’s consistent support to Sri Lanka, had also opined that Turkey had a to learn “from the Sri Lankan experience in eliminating terrorists”.
“Sri Lanka’s army was similar to the army Mustafa Kemal Atatürk [the founder of the Republic of Turkey] established in Turkey. In Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk, I saw the pictures of the Turkish soldiers offering water to their enemies during the war. Our soldiers were doing the same thing three years ago. The Sri Lankan government operated a humanitarian campaign while combating terrorism,” Today’s Zaman quoted her.