the Turks are getting ready to occupy some frontier posts inside Iraq that they abandoned last fall. This is a routine operation, taking over the posts when the weather gets better, and then abandoning them at the onset of winter, when the chances of anyone using nearby trails into Turkey drop off considerably. The PKK gunmen use the mountain trails to enter Turkey, from the safely of their camps in northern Iraq.
While Turkey is allowing more public expression of Kurdish culture, many Kurds in eastern Turkey are still eager for an independent Kurdistan. Several million Kurds in northern Iraq are as well. Turkey sees itself being drawn into an eventual war with the Kurds of northern Iraq, who have an army of some 100,000 armed men.
March 21, 2006: In Eastern Turkey, police clashed with PKK supporters before Naroz (the pre-Islamic Spring festival that is still celebrated in and around Iran). Several dozen rioters were arrested and 20 firebombs were seized. Naroz is often a time when spirits are high, and anti-government attitudes are expressed forcefully.