ABU DHABI (Reuters)–Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on Wednesday accused Syria of backing terrorism by letting Kurdish rebels use its territories as a launching pad to wage attacks on his country.
"Syria’s support of terrorism is not an allegation but a tangible fact,” Demirel told a news conference in Abu Dhabi where he arrived on a one-day official visit.
"These elemen’s enter Turkey from a region in northern Iraq to commit their ugly crimes and return to where they came from,” he said.
Ankara often accuses Damascus of sponsoring the Kurdistan Workers Party fighting for self-rule in southeast Turkey for the past 13 years. Damascus denies helping the rebels.
"The leader of this organization is in Damascus and he receives all the support and backing of the Syrian leadership,” said Demirel–referring to PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan who is believed to be living between Syria and Lebanon’s Syrian-policed eastern Bekaa Valley.
"Because of these incursions–more than 5,000 innocent civilians and another 5,000 soldiers and policemen have been killed to date,” Demirel said.