Kurdish Attacks Kill 24, Wound 18 in Southeastern Turkey
Turkish media announced that 24 security forces were killed and 18 were injured in the southeastern province of Hakkari, Turkey, early on Wednesday, in simultaneous attack carried out by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. According to a Turkish news agency, the terrorists attacked several military and police buildings in the district of Cukurca, and in Hakkari’s city center where the 24 soldiers were killed.
They also opened fire on military outposts in Cukurca, and Yuksekova, at the border with Iraq. The governor of the province, Muammer Turker, confirmed the simultaneous attacks in the predominantly Kurdish province but offered no other details.
The initial death toll was of 21 people killed but it raised after that to 24. The Turkish Armed Forces could not be reached to comment on the situation. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party did not claim immediately the attacks.
According to Reuters, Turkish commandos pursued the terrorists into the territory of northern Iraq soon after the attacks. The attacks on Wednesday come one day after five policemen and three civilians have been killed by a road side bomb planted by the same Kurdish terrorists.
A few days ago, the president of Turkey Abdullah Gul came to Hakkari to visit troops and boost their morale. The Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a trip to Kazakhstan and is expected to visit Hakkari. The chief of general staff and other force commanders have already arrived there.
The surge of violence in the province dominated by the rebel Kurds comes at a time when the entire Middle East is undergoing deep transformations, with Syria confronted with a violent uprising of the people and the prospect of civil war that could benefit the Kurds living there, and with the northern Iraq, where the Kurdish population also lives, enjoying a great autonomy.
The Kurds in Turkey are fighting for autonomy in the southeastern part of the country under the leadership of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as PKK.
The violence broke out after the electoral committee barred the way of a Kurd to elections because of his criminal record. Since July, dozens of military troops and 17 civilians were killed in the attacks of the PKK rebels.
Turkish government responded with sending more troops in and with incursions into the northern territory of Iraq, where the rebels found sanctuary. Turks have obtained in 2009 from the Americans the maps with all the Kurdish installations in northern Iraq.
Following an attack in August, the Turkish air forces bombed the Kurdish bases in Northern Iraq, prompting the Iraqi president, which is also a Kurdish person, to complain of violation of the Turkish territory.
Since the beginning of the military conflict in this part of Turkey in 1984, tens of thousands of people have died. The attacks on Wednesday seem to be the bloodiest this year.
A few months ago, famous Kurd leader Abdullah Ocalan, who was apprehended by the Turkish forces on February 15, 1999, said that he had agreed with the Turkish authorities to set up a peace council that would be formed within a month and would help end the conflict.
Ocalan is the iconic symbol of Kurdish resistance, and since his arrest in Kenya in 1999 he was sentenced to death, then after the elimination of the death penalty he was sentenced to life in prison. Turkish authorities kept him as a leverage in the negotiations with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.11