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September 20, 2012, Thursday

Same questions as in 1993

Turkey is seeking satisfactory answers to a number of questions that have arisen in the aftermath of an attack that killed 10 soldiers in Bingöl.

 A group of 200 soldiers who were returning from a brief vacation in their hometowns were on their way to their new military units when their convoy was targeted by the Kurdi stan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Bugün’s Gültekin Avcı says it is clear that the terrorists followed the military convoy closely from the beginning. Somehow they must have received intelligence about the route the soldiers would be taking and that they were unarmed. But where did this intelligence come from? Avcı says this is the most important question to be answered.

There are certainly two main failures on the military’s part: A military convoy carrying such a large number of soldiers should have never been unarmed and should have never travelled without helicopters accompanying it. Normally, military transfers are carried out according to unannounced times and routes, but at such a crucial time when terrorists are carrying out more frequent and better-planned attacks, security measures should have been increased further. In these kinds of attacks there are always two possible actors that help the terrorists, Avcı notes. It is either people from the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) or people from the deep state. With the recent investigations into the institutions within the state and effective operations against the KCK, these secret collaborators were being exposed until recently. But the current debates over whether the investigations have gone too far have hampered them. However, the attack in Bingöl revealed two facts once again: Firstly, terror won’t end unless the operations against the KCK conclude successfully. Secondly, as there have been many other incidents in which terrorists attacked soldiers while they were in transit, soldiers should no longer be moved by land transport or without a helicopter escort.

Radikal’s Özgür Mumcu also points out that the deadly attack is reminiscent of the killing of 33 unarmed off-duty soldiers in Bingöl in 1993. On May 24, 1993, a group of about 150 PKK terrorists blocked the Elazığ-Bingöl highway, stopping several buses that were tranporting unarmed Turkish soldiers in civilian clothing. They dragged the soldiers from their vehicles before executing them. Questions similar to today’s were asked back then regarding the military’s flaws and negligence, and despite the state’s intolerance to criticism, today they are being asked yet again so as not to repeat the same mistakes in 2023, Mumcu concludes.

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