2 soldiers killed over weekend as PKK violence continues

2 soldiers killed over weekend as PKK violence continues

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
2 soldiers killed over weekend as PKK violence continues

Cihan Photo

One soldier has been killed in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır after outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants opened fire at gendarmerie forces guarding a hydroelectric plant while another army lieutenant also died in clashes in Şırnak.

Clashes erupted between security forces and PKK militants as Turkish forces responded with fire to the militants firing shots with automatic weapons at the gendarmerie personnel guarding the hydroelectric plant in Diyarbakır’s Kulp district early Aug. 23. 

The militants escaped the scene after the exchange of fire.

Additional security personnel were dispatched to the scene and routes used by PKK militants were fired upon from military helicopters.

The Turkish General Staff said in a written statement that a gendarmerie sergeant was killed after a group of militants fired shots with rockets and long-barreled weapons at security guards of the hydroelectric plant in Kulp’s Panak village at 5:50 a.m. on Aug. 23.

The Turkish military launched both aerial and ground operations against PKK militants, it said, adding that military operations were ongoing. 

In Şırnak’s Beytüşşebap district late Aug. 21, Lt. Ali Alkan was killed after PKK militants fired rockets and shots with automatic weapons at a military post at 9:30 p.m.

Alkan and two other soldiers were injured in clashes that erupted following an armed offensive by the PKK. Alkan was taken to Şırnak Military Hospital, but he could not be saved. 

Alkan’s brother, Gendarmerie Col. Mehmet Alkan, expressed an angry reaction to the killing of his brother during the funeral ceremony in the southern province of Osmaniye later on Aug. 23.

“Why did those who have said ‘peace’ until now start a rhetoric of ‘war,’” said Alkan, implying that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has displayed an inconsistent stance toward the Kurdish peace process and started waging a military campaign against PKK militants, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Turkish security personnel and scores of injuries.

“You can’t run around with 30 bodyguards in palace, and get into armored cars and say, ‘I want to die a martyr,’” he said in reference to Energy Minister Taner Yıldız’s remarks last week about wanting to die as a “martyr.” “Go for it then.”

Turkey has faced an epidemic of PKK attacks against security personnel across the country.

In the southeastern province of Hakkari, PKK militants fired shots with long-barreled weapons at a police convoy on patrol late Aug. 22 in the Yüksekova district, with no casualties reported.

In the southeastern province of Mardin, militants from the outlawed Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), the youth wing of the PKK, fired shots with long-barreled weapons and Molotov cocktails at police officers filling trenches dug by YDG-H militants in the Nusaybin district in the evening hours on Aug. 22, although no casualties were reported.

In the eastern province of Ağrı, PKK militants hurled hand-made bombs at a police residence and a prison in the Doğubayazıt district at around 9 p.m. on Aug. 22, with no casualties reported. The militants escaped as security forces responded with fire. 

In the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, an item used in rocket firing, 18 hand-made grenades and 660 Kalashnikov rifles were seized on Aug. 22 in a police search of a graveyard in the Sur district.

The Diyarbakır Governor’s Office said in a written statement on Aug. 23 that the Diyarbakır Police Department Counterterrorism Unit officers had conducted anti-terror operations against the PKK.

“An item used in firing rockets, 18 unexploded hand-made grenades, 660 Kalashnikov rifles with two empty shells, a mid-size bag along with a backpack were seized in a police search at the Çifte Havuzlar Graveyard in Sur’s Hasırlı neighborhood,” it said.