PKK kills bus driver after blocking road in eastern Turkey

PKK kills bus driver after blocking road in eastern Turkey

ERZURUM – Doğan News Agency
PKK kills bus driver after blocking road in eastern Turkey

DHA Photo

Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants killed a bus driver who attempted to avoid an illegal checkpoint set up by the outlawed PKK in the eastern province of Erzurum on Aug. 17, after the lifting of a curfew that had been effect from early on Aug. 16 in the nearby Muş province.

The militants blocked a road between Erzurum’s Değirmenlidere and Akşar districts at around 7 a.m. on Aug. 17 and stopped a passenger bus heading from the northeastern province of Ardahan to Istanbul. 

The militants from the outlawed organization forced passengers out of the bus after they noticed a village minibus approaching their makeshift checkpoint. 

Upon noticing the militants, the driver of the minibus, 35-year-old Garip Bektaş, tried to flee by reversing but the PKK militants opened fire to prevent the escape. 

Bektaş was shot in the back, while two of the passengers stepped in and managed to drive the minibus away from the militants. They then stopped a car on the road and arranged for Bektaş’s transfer to the public hospital in Ardahan’s Göle district. Bektaş could not be saved and died at hospital.

In a separate incident on Aug 17, a group of people protested against the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan during the burial ceremony of Musa Saydam, a gendarmerie sergeant who was killed in a landmine attack by PKK militants in the Karlıova district of the eastern province of Bingöl. 

Meanwhile, a curfew that took effect early Aug. 16 in Muş’s Varto district was lifted around 24 hours later, the Muş Governor’s Office announced.

“A curfew was lifted at 5 a.m. on Aug. 17 after public security and an environment of trust were re-established with mines, traps and bombs in Varto being defused and the streets being cleaned out,” the Muş Governor’s Office stated.

The Muş Governor’s Office declared a curfew at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 16 until further notice amid clashes between security forces and PKK militants holding control of much of the district, digging trenches and placing explosives at a number of places around the city.

During the curfew hours, the sounds of clashes were heard across the district.

Early on Aug. 16, PKK militants also raided a worksite in the district and demolished a bridge at an entrance to the district with bulldozers they had seized.

Later on the same day, four PKK members were captured dead and another from the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), the youth wing of the PKK, was arrested in Varto following clashes with security forces at 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 16, the Turkish General Staff said in a written statement on Aug. 17.

Meanwhile, the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office declared a curfew between 9 p.m. on Aug. 17 and 7. a.m. on Aug. 18 in the Lice district to establish “the security of life and the property of the public.”