PKK assassination plan against governor and police chief foiled

Diyarbakır Governor Mustafa Toprak delivers a speech to the press during an exhibition of weapons seized by counterterrorism units. A flame thrower, a hand grenade and an MP5 automatic gun with two magazines and 60 bullets were displayed to the press on Thursday. (Photo: AA)

June 14, 2012, Thursday/ 16:20:00

Assassination plans hatched by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) against state officials in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır were foiled as counterterrorism and intelligence units captured three suspects in the midst of preparations to attack the governor and the police chief.

As part of a joint operation launched by Diyarbakır Police Department counterterrorism and intelligence units, a flame thrower, a hand grenade and an MP5 automatic gun with two magazines and 60 bullets were seized on Thursday.

As the result of long-term efforts and the close monitoring of a small group of terrorists, police found that the three suspects had been providing arms and ammunition to terrorist groups based in rural areas of Diyarbakır province. Police realized recently that the three suspects had been gathering intelligence in the provincial capital and subsequently conducted an operation against the group.

An exhibition of the weapons was held for the press at the Diyarbakır Police Department. Diyarbakır Governor Mustafa Toprak said the terrorists were planning to attack bureaucrats in the city, and added that the detainees were referred to the court as part of the legal process.

The PKK has stepped up its attacks against military and police targets recently, and has increasingly begun to carry out bombing attacks to ease military pressure in direct confrontations in rural areas.

Toprak said the more the PKK's efficiency has been curbed in rural areas the more the terrorist organization has stepped up bombing attacks in urban areas. This tactical maneuvering entails an unacceptable risk both for security forces and civilians in urban areas. Many attempts to stage bomb attacks have been foiled as a result of careful operations by police and intelligence units.

Toprak asserted the terrorist organization plans to stage acts of terror, making no distinction between security forces and civilians, displaying a marked disregard for human life.

On Wednesday morning Diyarbakır Gendarmerie Command units discovered 40 kilograms of explosives planted under a culvert near the road between Diyarbakır and Lice. The operation was initiated as the result of a tip-off.

The intended target of the bomb is believed to have been military vehicles. The explosive was detonated by bomb disposal units after conveying the device three meters from the culvert, Governor Toprak said in a written statement on Wednesday. The explosion opened a vent two meters in diameter at the scene.

A further explosive was discovered in the eastern province of Ağrı on the same day. Units from Ağrı Gendarmerie Command dismantled 30 kilograms of explosives on a plain between the villages of Cumaçay and Sağırtaş. The bomb was planted in the area with the intention of curbing operations by security forces in the region searching for PKK terrorists, who have used the area as a hideout.

Meanwhile, on Thursday the PKK released three construction workers kidnapped two weeks ago in the eastern province of Ağrı. The terrorist organization had kidnapped 10 workers on May 29 and released seven of them on June 5.

Dozens detained in KCK operation across Turkey

Dozens of suspects across the country were detained as part of an operation against the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization that encompasses the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and related organizations, on Thursday.

Eight were detained on charges of being members of the KCK and were referred to a court in the eastern province of Ağrı. After months of intelligence gathering, Ağrı Police Department counterterrorism units launched an operation against the KCK urban branch in Ağrı's Doğubayazıt district on June 11, and captured 15 after raiding 14 different addresses. Eight of the 15 were arrested following a court decision.

In another operation against the KCK on Wednesday, police detained 16, including women, in the southeastern province of Hakkari as part of an investigation headed by the Van Deputy Public Prosecutor's Office. The detainees were referred to a court in the eastern province of Van on Thursday. Police took strict security measures in front of the courthouse.

Four people were arrested as part of an operation against the KCK in the western province of Bursa on Thursday. Twelve suspects, six of them women, were detained on charges of “disseminating the propaganda of the PKK and recruiting new militants for the terrorist organization” after Bursa Police Department counterterrorism units raided several offices and addresses.

Four of the detainees were released pending trial while four others, including Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Council member Ayla Yıldırım, were sent to prison following a court ruling. The remaining detainees are still being questioned.

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