Anti-Kurdish unrest hits Turkey

01 Aug 2010

Unrest spread across the town of Dortyol in the southeastern province of Hatay after four police officers were shot dead on Monday in an attack blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Angry protesters set fire to Kurdish businesses in the town, attacked the local offices of a pro-Kurdish political party and clashed with security forces deployed to maintain order in the area.

They also threw stones at the homes of neighbors who did not display a Turkish flag.

“I want to underline that this is not politically or ideologically motivated. It is a spontaneous act,” Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay said on Saturday.

The turbulence comes at a time when attacks by Kurdish militants are on the rise with more than 100 Turkish soldiers killed this year in attacks by the PKK.

While the Turkish government has given the country’s Kurdish community higher expectations by trying to address their issues through dialogue, it faces another Herculean task, namely keeping enraged Turkish nationalists appeased.

PKK militants took up arms against the government in 1984.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and most of the international community, and is blamed for the death of over 45,000 people in over two decades of armed struggle.

The PKK militants launch their attacks from Iraq’s Qandil Mountains in the areas under the control of Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani. Israel and Israeli firms also operate in the Qandil mountain range.

Turkish police arrest 34 suspected terrorists

ANKARA, Turkey — Police arrested 34 suspected members of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Thursday (July 29th) in connection with five bomb attacks in Istanbul. The suspects are believed to have planted small bombs outside of two supermarkets, an office, a medical clinic and a post office on June 29th and July 15th, but caused no injuries.

Meanwhile, a group of representatives from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) were turned back on Thursday from the Dortyol district for security concerns. Four police officers were killed in the southeast town earlier this week by alleged PKK members who opened fire on the police station. After being stopped near the district of Erzin, where they met with local administration, police and military officials, the BDP representatives said they would return to Diyarbakir. (Zaman, Radikal – 30/07/10; AFP, Hurriyet, CNN – 29/07/10)

Roadside bomb kills four in SE Turkey

ISTANBUL Aug 1 (Reuters) – A roadside bomb laid by Kurdish separatists in southeast Turkey killed four people on Sunday, including the former regional head of a human rights group, the state-run news agency Anatolia reported.Members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) laid the device after setting fire to Turkish Petroleum (TPAO)-owned oil production facilities in Batman province, it said.All those killed were travelling to help put out the fire at the TPAO facilities, Anatolian said. Company firefighters eventually put out the blaze, it said.The PKK, which Ankara, the United States and the European Union consider a terrorist organisation, has stepped up attacks on military targets since ending a ceasefire in June.The group has claimed responsibility for attacks on oil and gas installations in the past.Some 40,000 people have died in violence between the PKK and the Turkish military since the PKK took up arms to carve out an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey 26 years ago. (Editing by Tim Pearce)

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