Kurdish War: PKK Takes on Tourism


June 20, 2006: Fighting in eastern and southeastern Turkey has increased in the last two weeks as the army and police fought a series of small but deadly engagements with PKK guerrillas. Turkish security troops killed three PKK rebels in an operation in Tunceli province (eastern Turkey). The Turkish military report claimed that the security troops spotted a group of rebels moving in the mountains and attacked them. Meanwhile, in Mus province, PKK rebels tried to blow up a train. The guerrillas set off a command detonated-mine and derailed the freight train, but no one was injured in the attack.

June 15, 2006: A small bomb exploded in Istanbul, wounding three people. The bomb was set off near a bus station in Eminonu, which is also a departure point for boats crossing the Bosporous. No group claimed responsibility, but Turkish officials believed the bomb was set off by the PKK. Since the bomb was set off at a transportation hub in a major tourist center, Turkish authorities speculated that the blast was intended to discourage tourists-- meaning the bomb was another example of terrorists launching an "anti-economy" attack by attacking tourism.

June 14, 2006: The Turkish government board which controls radio and television broadcasts will not let stations increase their programming in Kurdish. Stations were limited to no more than 45 minutes a day (with a four-hour a week maximum). Kurdish and Turkish sources both said that movies and music concerts in Kurdish would not have time limits (though these programs would have to have Turkish subtitles). No surprise-- news and talk programs in Kurdish still face time limits. Kurdish broadcasts are a politically volatile subject in Turkey, but European Union countries have put a lot of pressure on the Turkish government to allow Kurdish broadcasts. Two regional channels began providing Kurdish programs in March. Many Kurdish moderates have wanted the programming, arguing that denying Kurdish programming gives PKK radicals a cause they can run with.

Turkish security troops engaged a PKK guerrilla unit in a firefight near the village of Geyikusu (Tunceli province), leaving one rebel dead.

June 11, 2006: PKK rebels ambushed a Turkish Army convoy in Tunceli province. The troops counter-attacked, which was supported by helicopter gunships. Two officers died in the ambush. Seven people (five Turkish soldiers and two civilians) were wounded.

June 10, 2006: The Turkish Army said that it killed a senior PKK commander in Silvan district (Diyarbakir province). There was no independent confirmation of the claim. The military statement said another PKK rebel died in the firefight. The Turkish Army said that its forces are conducting a "spring offensive" against infiltrating PKK guerrillas.


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