Pro-PKK protesters attack civilians, Turkey captures senior PKK member

Pro-PKK protesters attack civilians, Turkey captures senior PKK member

Speaking to a local TV network in Bursa, Deputy PM Bülent Arınç announced a senior PKK terrorist was captured. (Photo: AA)

December 05, 2011, Monday/ 15:05:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Police captured a high-level member of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in İstanbul and on the same day supporters of the terrorist group attacked a public bus and a supermarket with Molotov cocktails and stones, also in İstanbul.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, who was speaking to a local TV network in Bursa late on Sunday, did not reveal the identity of the high-level terrorist or the time of his capture. However, noting that security forces have been carrying out successful operations against the PKK in the past three months, Arınç said a large terrorist group nested within the Amanos Mountains, which the PKK uses for passage into Syria, “was cleaned out.”

The Anatolia news agency speculated that the senior PKK member Arınç is referring to is Suphi Y., a high-level executive in the terrorist Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella group that allegedly encompasses the outlawed PKK. Suphi Y. was captured over the weekend in a police operation carried out in İstanbul's Esenyurt district. He is known to be the right-hand man of Fehman Hüseyin of Syria, who goes by the codename Bahoz Erdal.

Hours after Arınç's statement, PKK supporters attacked a crowded public bus with Molotov cocktails and stones in İstanbul's Şişli district on Sunday evening. Violent protesters broke the windows of the bus, but no one was injured in the attack. The PKK supporters escaped before the police arrived at the scene. An investigation has been opened to identify and track down the attackers.

Around the same time another incident took place in Şişli's Okmeydanı neighborhood, in which PKK supporters attacked a supermarket with Molotov cocktails and stones, breaking the glass doors and windows of the store. Police quickly arrived at the scene of the incident and reviewed CCTV footage in the hopes of identifying the attackers.

In related news, a Turkish court has sentenced two suspects to 12 years and six months in prison for possessing Molotov cocktails and providing weapons to the PKK. The court has classified Molotov cocktails as a type of weapon.

The İstanbul Police Department's Counterterrorism Units on Monday carried out simultaneous operations against the terrorist PKK in İstanbul. Police arrested 15 people, including several who were under 18 years of age. The police department's special ops teams also took part in the operations.

The arrested PKK supporters are accused of participating in illegal demonstrations and being involved in violent attacks against security forces and civilians. In the searches made at these arrestees' houses, police found digital and hardcopy data belonging to the terrorist PKK and also materials to be used for producing homemade explosives. The İstanbul police are still interrogating the suspects.

The conflict with the PKK has claimed tens of thousands of lives and cost Turkey hundreds of billions of dollars. The group is labeled a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, which supplied Predator drones to Turkey to assist in its fight in the rugged Southeast.

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