Two soldiers abducted by outlawed PKK in Turkey’s east

Two soldiers abducted by outlawed PKK in Turkey’s east

Two soldiers abducted by outlawed PKK in Turkey’s east Two soldiers have been abducted by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in eastern Turkey amid the upsurge in violence in recent months, which has seen scores of security personnel and civilians killed in attacks.

The militants abducted the two soldiers heading to their military post in the eastern province of Tunceli in a public bus, in a road connecting Tunceli city with its Pülümür district on Oct. 2, the Turkish General Staff said in a written statement on Oct. 3.

Turkey has seen a rise in violent attacks by the PKK and other deadly incidents in the east and southeast, which have left a large number of security personnel and civilians dead.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş posted a photo showing an armored vehicle dragging a dead body on the ground with a rope tied around its neck, on his Twitter account on Oct. 4, saying the photo was shot on Oct. 2 in the southeastern province of Şırnak. 

Widely shared on social media, the photo was retweeted by more than 15,000 Twitter users alone.

Daily Cumhuriyet reported that the dead body dragged on the ground was that of Hacı Lokman Birlik, 24, the brother-in-law of HDP Şırnak deputy Leyla Birlik. 

Birlik, an amateur actor, was killed in clashes that erupted during an operation conducted to fill in trenches in Şırnak’s Dicle neighborhood that had been dug by locals to protect themselves from attacks by the police and the army.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry said in a written statement on Oct. 4 that an investigation had been launched into the photo and shared by tens of thousands of people on the internet.

“The claims will be investigated thoroughly,” the ministry said.

Turkey is continuing its military operations against the PKK both inside and outside the country, with the latest aerial strikes targeting PKK bases in northern Iraq.

Seventeen separate military posts in northern Iraq were hit by Turkish air strikes, causing severe damage to the militant group, the Turkish General Staff said in a written statement on Oct. 3.

The General Staff said in a separate statement on Oct. 4 that several shelters and militant posts in the eastern provinces of Kars and Hakkari were also destroyed.

In the eastern province of Bitlis, Maşallah Şipallı, 25, a civilian who was taking food to his father working at a construction site in the Güroymak district of Bitlis, was killed after PKK militants detonated a bomb planted inside a caterpillar at the construction site at around 9 p.m. on Oct. 3, Doğan News Agency reported.

Şipallı’s father, who was working as a watchman at the construction site, as well as his friend Vasfi Gökyer, who was with him at the time, were wounded in the explosion. The two were taken to a public hospital in Bitlis’s Tatvan district but Şipallı succumbed to his injuries there.

Meanwhile, in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, one police officer was killed and 11 other people, including seven police officers, were injured after a police vehicle and a civilian pickup crashed on a road connecting Diyarbakır and its Silvan district at around 5 a.m. on Oct. 4, Doğan News Agency reported. 

All of the injured police officers and civilians are reported to be in a good condition.

In Diyarbakır’s Lice district, a curfew was declared for nine neighborhoods - Konuklu, Yaprakköy, Ahmetbey, Yünlüce, Gürbeyli, Hamzabey, Türbe Komları, Recep Komu and Namber Tepe - starting from 4 a.m. on Oct. 4, the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office said in a written statement.

In the southeastern province of Mardin, nine militants were killed in an anti-terror operation in Mardin’s Nusaybin district on Oct. 3, with a curfew in effect in the district, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported, citing a written statement released by the Mardin Governor’s Office.

Some 54 trenches dug by militants were filled and nearly 500 kilograms of explosives were detonated under military control in the operation.