ANKARA (Reuters)–On Thursday–Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan denounced British-based news organizations–BBC and Reuters–for not describing the armed separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a terrorist group.
Erdogan–speaking to the Ankara Chamber of Industry after observing a two-minute silence for the victims of last week’s bomb attacks in London–warned against double standards in tackling terrorism in Turkey and in Britain.
"I condemn and curse two important global television and media companies–BBC and Reuters–for both declaring the PKK terror group in Turkey to be a militia," Erdogan said.
"I call on the global media to show an objective stance at this point. If this mentality continues–they should know that the terror which strikes Turkey and the children of this country today will strike them tomorrow–and will cause them pain."
His commen’s were met by applause from Chamber of Industry delegates.
The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984–demanding Kurdish independence in a conflict that has claimed more than 30,000 lives.
Turkish officials have frequently criticized Western media for the way they cover the Kurdish separatist conflict–which is a highly sensitive subject in Turkey.
Reuters–the British Broadcasting Corporation and other international news organizations avoid describing armed groups as terrorist–unless the term is attributed–in line with policies of avoiding emotive language.
Erdogan–who has driven human rights reforms that helped win Turkey an October start date for European Union (EU) entry talks–has often criticized domestic and foreign media on a range of issues but has not previously lashed out so pointedly over the PKK.
PKK violence abated after the 1999 capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan–but has been on the rise again since the group called off a unilateral cease-fire in June 2004.
Both the United States and the EU include the PKK on their list of terrorist organizations.
Suicide bombers linked to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network struck Jewish and British targets in Istanbul in November 2003–killing more than 60 people. Suicide bombers who struck London last week are also thought to have had al Qaeda connections.