Signalfire will produce a regular digest of the military conflict in Turkey/Kurdistan on the base of both bourgeois and progressive media. For further background we recommend Nouvelle Turquie (French and English translations of material in the Maoist and Marxist-Leninist media), and Turkey Harvest (extensive coverage of the national democratic struggle of the Kurdish people).
Halkların Savunması Birliği (People’s Defense Union) claims responsibility for armed action against Istanbul police station on Monday via Twitter: “Our units carried out the suicide attack and a subsequent attack against the Sultanbeyli Fatih Police Station,” On the same day guerrillas attacked a Sikorsky military helicopter in the Beytüşşebap district with rocket launchers. Eight military casualties including one death. Three police eliminated by armed youth in Silopi on Friday.
Mortar attack on border security post in Şemdinli on Monday. Simultaneous firearms attacks on gendarmerie command and a police station in Lice Monday. Bridge sabotaged in Yüksekova. Firearms attack on police station in same town last week. PKK militants faced with village guards, state-funded paramilitary villagers, when they tried to enter into Elmayı village in Bingöl late on Monday. Two of the PKK militants were killed while another was injured during the skirmish. One was captured alive.
At least seven suspected militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, have been killed in Turkey’s eastern Agri province, the governor’s office has said Tuesday. One Turkish private of the 6th Mechanized Infantry Brigade has died from injuries sustained in an attack against a military base in Turkey’s southeastern province of Şırnak early Tuesday morning. PKK militants attacked the Akdizgin military near the base of Gabar Mountain around 12:20 am local time (9:20 pm GMT) with automatic weapons. After about 20 minutes, the PKK militants disengaged from combat and, under cover of nightfall, fled towards the mountain.
Teams from the Diyarbakır Police Department Counterterrorism Bureau launched joint operations early Tuesday morning against locals suspected of having participated in recent attacks against Turkish security forces. 12 homes were raided simultaneously during the operations, resulting in a total of 6 detentions. A statement by the police said that alongside the 6 suspects detained, they also seized a piece of cloth that had been used to cover the assailant’s face during the terrorist attacks and a hoodie in one of the homes. Additionally, 16 suspects were detained in early morning raids on Tuesday the western city of İzmir. 500 police from the Izmir Police Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau, Special Ops Bureau and Riot Bureau raided several locations in the Menemen and Torbalı districts, detaining 16 people suspected of belonging to the Patriotic Revolutionist Youth Movement (YDG-H) group, the PKK’s youth wing. The raids also seized several hunting rifles, pistols and organizational documents.
Teams from the Adana Police Department Counterterrorism Bureau in Turkey also staged simultaneous raids at multiple locations along the southern province early Tuesday morning. Seven people, including two women suspected of belonging to YDG-H, were detained in the Adana raids, along with many organizational documents. The Turkish Air Force also launched airstrikes against PKK militants on Monday and Tuesday, hitting 17 targets in the southeastern province of Hakkari. Meanwhile, the highway between Hakkari and the town of Çukurca is still closed off to traffic following Monday morning’s detonation of two land mines suspected of belonging to the PKK. Security personnel are combing through the area trying to determine if there are any more unexploded mines on the road. Additionally, 7 customs officials who worked at the Üzümlü Border Gate with Iraq in Hakkari’s town of Çukurca have not been heard of since 9:00 am local time (6:00 am GMT) Monday morning when they were kidnapped.
In the eastern province of Tunceli, PKK militants fired with Biksi machine guns at two military helicopters. The attack on the helicopters came hours after the outlawed Turkish Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (TKP/ML) and the Organization for Liberation of Turkish Workers, Peasants (TİKKO), along with several PKK militants, fired shots with long-barreled weapons and rockets at the province’s Çiçekli Gendarmerie Station at around 6 p.m. on Aug. 9. Clashes that erupted between the two attacks lasted for about 15 minutes, with soldiers deployed in the gendarmerie station responding to the terrorist attack with fire. Militants from the PKK, the TKP/ML and TİKKO escaped the scene and ran toward a forested area called Zergavut after the clashes. PKK and TKP/ML have been running identity checks on highway in the same area.
“The PKK has bolstered its presence in Turkey’s urban centers since 2013, which means that it’s in a stronger position to harm the economy and further erode investor confidence,”-Anthony Skinner, head of analysis for the Middle East and North Africa at U.K.-based forecasting company Verisk Maplecroft. The group “undertook the job of arming in towns and cities” as security forces used a peace process from late 2012 to build fortified outposts and strategic highways, according to Mehmet Kaya, head of the Tigris Communal Research Center in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.
Police have rounded up about 1,600 people with links to the PKK since July 24, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency. The pro-government Sabah newspaper cited intelligence reports that the group had stashed 80,000 rifles, as well as pistols and hand grenades, in urban centers in the southeast. “The PKK tried and failed to start an uprising in residential areas in the 1990s due to a lack of militants,” said Nihat Ali Ozcan, who studies the group at the Economic Policy Research Foundation in Ankara. “Today, it seems to be better prepared and poses a much bigger threat.”