The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
New deadly attack on police as Turkey battles PKK Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

New deadly attack on police as Turkey battles PKK

At least 8 police and army members killed since last week [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 July, 2015

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Three Turkish troops were killed on Thursday when Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants opened fire on their convoy in the southeastern province of Sirnak, the army said.

Three Turkish troops were killed on Thursday when Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants opened fire on their convoy in the southeastern province of Sirnak, the army said, as Ankara stepped up its controversial campaign against the separatist rebels.

"As a result of an attack by the Separatist Terror Organisation three of our brave personnel - one officer, one non-commissioned officer and one private - were killed," said the army, using its customary phrase for the PKK which it never refers to by name.

Ankara says it is fighting a two-pronged "war on terror" against Islamic State (IS) extremists in Syria and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq, after a spate of attacks in the country.

But after initially targeting the IS group, the campaign has become increasingly focused on the PKK, with the Turkish air force bombing dozens of targets in an almost week-long campaign.

In apparent response, there has been a new wave of attacks on security forces in southeastern Turkey blamed on the PKK with at least eight police and army members killed since last week.

Funeral ceremonies for slain police and soldiers have now become an almost daily event, broadcast live on national television. 

Late Wednesday, a Turkish policeman and a civilian were killed in a gun attack in the Cinar district of the mainly-Kurdish Diyarbakir region blamed on the PKK.

Policeman Mehmet Uyar was sitting in front of a tea house in the Cinar district of the southeastern Diyarbakir region when unknown gunmen opened fire from a car, the Anatolia and Dogan news agencies reported.

Both the policeman and one civilian passer-by named as Osman Caran later died of their wounds in hospital overnight. Another civilian was wounded.

Meanwhile, in the town of Cizre in the southeastern Sirnak region one suspected PKK member was killed when militants opened fire on a police post and the security forces opened fire in response, Anatolia said.

NTV television said that overnight eight Turkish F-16s had been seen taking off from their base in Diyarbakir on possible new raids in northern Iraq.

There was no immediate official confirmation.

'Fight against terror' 

The Hurriyet daily said Turkish intelligence sources believed as many as 190 PKK fighters had been killed in the air operations and 300 wounded.

But the government declined to give any toll.

"This is not a football game but a fight against terrorism," a Turkish official told AFP.

The strikes have targeted camps and weapons stores used by the military wing of the PKK in the remote mountains of northern Iraq, including its headquarters on Kandil mountain.

PKK targets inside Turkey's borders have also been hit.

The crisis erupted on July 20 when 32 people were killed in a suicide bombing blamed on IS extremists in a town close to the Syrian border.

Kurdish militants, who accuse Ankara of collaborating with IS, responded by murdering two Turkish police in their sleep and saying they no longer considered a ceasefire that had largely been observed since 2013 to be valid.

A peace process for a final settlement aiming to end the PKK's 30-year-plus armed uprising for better rights and powers for Turkish Kurds is now under severe strain. 

Erdogan slams Demirtas

Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of orchestrating the crisis in the hope of calling early elections to make up for the ruling party's lacklustre performance in June 7 polls.

Speaking on a visit to China, Erdogan spat back at Dermirtas, telling him to "know his place" and referred to the presence of his elder brother Nurettin among the PKK fighters in Iraq.

"It is just an attempt to remove the black clouds above him (Demirtas)," said Erdogan, quoted by the Anatolia news agency.

"He (Demirtas) is a person whose elder brother has obviously been raised in the mountains," said Erdogan, referring to the PKK's Iraq bases.

"He would run there if he found the opportunity."

As well as the airstrikes, Turkish security forces have also launched major operations to arrest suspected members of IS, the PKK and other militant groups including radical Marxists.

According to the latest figures, at least 1,302 people have been arrested so far but the vast majority of those detained are suspected of links to the PKK.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Wednesday 847 people detained over links to the PKK and 137 detained over links to IS.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More