750 became voluntary village guards in Turkey’s north

750 became voluntary village guards in Turkey’s north

750 became voluntary village guards in Turkey’s north

AA photo

Some 750 people who have volunteered to become village guards have been assigned to posts in the Black Sea province of Giresun. 

Many applicants said they wanted to become involved in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after the latter staged several attacks in the Black Sea province, which is outside of their traditional area of operations, daily Habertürk reported May 17. 

“We are the people who love their country, people and soil. That’s why we want to fight the terrorists who aim to divide our country,” said a voluntary village guard, identified only as A.O., adding that the militants had been trying to infiltrate the province in the recent years. 

“We want to help the security forces,” he added. 

The village guards, who will support the security forces in their operations against the PKK, started their duties in April, after going through training on using long-barreled weapons for a month.

The village guard system, officially termed the “provisional village guards,” was originally established in 1924 in an effort to entrust locals with the task of providing for their own safety, under Village Law No. 442, but remained practically inert until it was resurrected in the early 1980s due to the rise of the PKK. Following its resurrection in 1985, the system was entrusted to locals in order to prevent attacks by the PKK. 

Turkish warplanes also hit positions of the PKK in northern Iraq on May 16 and 17, destroying 26 targets in three separate air operations in the Metina, Sinath, Haftanin and Zap regions, according to Doğan News Agency. 

Weapon-launching platforms, huts and caves used by PKK militants were destroyed in operations launched over the course of almost 12 hours.

Elsewhere, 600 kilograms of homemade explosives, supplies to prepare them, and 580 pieces of ammunition were seized in operations against the PKK in the Güroymak district of the eastern province of Bitlis. The soldiers discovered the explosives and ammunition buried underground, according to a statement released by the Bitlis Governor’s Office on May 16. 

In another incident, nine soldiers were wounded in two separate attacks by PKK militants in the Nusaybin district of the southeastern province of Mardin on May 17.

The militants launched an attack with rocket launchers against an armored military vehicle in the Yenişehir neighborhood, injuring three security officers. The wounded soldiers were taken to Nusaybin State Hospital. 

A second attack was carried out in the Abdülkadirpaşa neighborhood, where PKK militants detonated a homemade bomb while security officers were passing through the area. Six officers, including soldiers and police officers, were wounded and taken to Nusaybin State Hospital.

One of the wounded soldiers will be taken to the Gülhane Military Medical Academy (GATA) in Ankara, according to Doğan News Agency.

A curfew has been in force in Nusaybin since March 14 as military operations continue.

Meanwhile, a total of 500 soldiers from the Turkish Special Forces Command, known as the Maroon Berets, have been deployed to the Amanos Mountains in Turkey’s southeastern Hatay province in order to apprehend two militants from the PKK.  

The soldiers are trying to apprehend the field commander of the PKK, Seyithan Sinet, and his aide, İbrahim Şengül, who are leading a group of 70 to 80 PKK militants, daily Sabah reported on May 17.

The 42-year-old Sinet and Şengül, whose codenames are Vedat and Bedrettin, respectively, are sought by the Interior Ministry under the green wanted category with up to a million-Turkish Lira reward for those who can provide information leading to the apprehension of the pair.

Eight maroon beret teams were sent to the mountains, where a captain who fell from a rocky area died on May 9, by the General Staff’s Special Forces Command, while an operation was launched with the support of Gendarmerie Special Operations, Gendarmerie Commando and Police Special Forces teams.

Some 80 militants based in the mountains, which the PKK reportedly uses to cross the border, were followed and encircled by the maroon berets.

Ammunition belonging to the PKK was also found in land search efforts on the mountain, reported Doğan News Agency.