Turkish security forces launched an air assault on suspected PKK locations in Uludere, Şırnak province, on Monday night, killing 15 members of the terrorist organization. Two soldiers were killed and four others injured during the clash that ensued.
Turkey has been conducting air raids on PKK camps in Iraq's northern mountains and inside Turkey since August of last year following the breakdown of a cease-fire and an increase in attacks on Turkish troops and civilians by the PKK. The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's largely Kurdish Southeast since 1984.
The conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives. The group is labeled a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, which has supplied Predator drones to assist Turkey.
Turkish security officials have stated that the terrorist organization is preparing for deadly terrorist attacks on the anniversary of its jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan, being brought to Turkey by Turkish commandos. Police and gendarmerie forces have thus been conducting operations to prevent terrorist attacks over the past few days.
In an unrelated development, police acting on a tip-off stopped a vehicle carrying 125 kilograms of explosives near the southeastern city of Mardin, Diyarbakır Governor Mustafa Toprak told the Anatolia news agency. Police were said to be searching for the driver, who managed to escape, but recovered the explosives and carried out a controlled detonation of them. Police also seized four Kalashnikov rifles, many hand grenades and other explosives.
Meanwhile, police killed one PKK terrorist who had taken four people hostage in the village of Aktepe near Diyarbakır and wounded another PKK member following a car chase, Toprak stated. Both were believed to be part of the same plot, authorities said. The PKK has not responded to the operations.
In a similar development, the Mersin Police Department's counterterrorism unit seized 27 homemade explosives at an address in Mersin on Monday, and in Mersin's Toroslar district on Sunday, 18-year-old R.T. lost his fingers when he failed to throw a homemade bomb at a passing police cruiser before it went off. The young man was taken to Toroslar State Hospital for treatment.
10 detained, some 170 being interrogated in KCK operations
The Mersin Police Department's counterterrorism unit detained 10 people on Tuesday for suspected links to the terrorist KCK and some 170 people detained on Monday are still being interrogated at police stations across Turkey.
Police conducted simultaneous operations in 40 provinces on Monday, detaining around 170 people who are still being questioned.
Among the premises raided on Monday were the offices of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), the Trade Union of Public Employees in Health and Social Services (SES) and the All Municipal and Local Administration Workers' Union (TÜM BEL-SEN), all in Ankara.
The operations were conducted under the orders of İstanbul Specially Authorized Prosecutor Bilal Bayraktar and Sadrettin Sarıkaya, who had been overseeing the investigation into the KCK but was removed from the case following his attempt last week to summon the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) undersecretary to testify as part of the probe.
The investigation into the KCK, which prosecutors say is a group that controls the PKK and other affiliated groups, started in December 2009, and a large number of suspected KCK members, including several mayors from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), have been detained.
The suspects are accused of various crimes, including membership in a terrorist organization, aiding and abetting a terrorist organization and attempting to destroy the country's unity and integrity. BDP officials say the investigation is the government's way of suppressing BDP politicians, denying any links between the suspects and any terrorist organization.