“I would like to stress this once again. Not only our nation, but the whole world must face up to the mentality of these people [PKK terrorists], who do not hesitate to shed blood, to set traps and to stage attacks without caring about the difference between civilians and security forces, and what they understand of humanity. They should already have understood this,” Gül said on Friday in İzmir after he visited those who were injured in an explosion when members of the PKK attacked a Turkish military bus on its way to a naval base in the western province of İzmir on Thursday.
A group of PKK operatives detonated a roadside bomb they had planted along a road in the province's Foça district as a military vehicle passed over it at around 8 a.m. on Thursday. They then opened fire on the vehicle, killing one soldier and wounding 11 people. Those injured also included civilians.
The PKK has recently stepped up its campaign of violence, killing eight soldiers last week in an attack on a military outpost in the southeastern province of Hakkari. Thursday's attack marks one of the terrorist organization's rare strikes in western part of the country in the past few months.
In the meantime, acting on intelligence obtained by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the Security General Directorate has sent warnings to police departments in all 81 provinces to step up security measures against potential suicide bombers.
MİT sent word to the directorate that it had learned about plans by the terrorist PKK to send suicide bombers into Turkey. The bombers are reportedly planning to enter Turkey illegally to stage bloody attacks against civilians in city centers.
The Security General Directorate warned police departments that the terrorists have illegally obtained the identification cards of civilians in southeastern Turkey and may use those cards to hide their identities as terrorists. The identification cards belong to individuals named Mehmet Alper Ç., İsmet Y., Seyfullah A., Feyzullah Ç., Sadun K. and Baykal K., according to the directorate.
The directorate has asked police departments to step up security measures in city centers against possible terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, reports that emerged on Friday suggested that the PKK had planned to stage a terrorist attack in the central province of Afyon if their plans to attack soldiers in Foça were foiled. According to an intelligence tip that was shared with the press, PKK leader Murat Karayılan ordered terrorists of the terrorist group to “attack Afyon if they were unable to attack soldiers in Foça,” and added, “We suffered heavy losses in Şemdinli, and our plans in Ankara and İstanbul were foiled.”
Turkish security forces have been conducting a major crackdown on PKK terrorists in Şemdinli for approximately two weeks, and more than 100 terrorists have been killed.
In the wake of the terrorist attack in Foça, İzmir police are now searching for three PKK terrorists who are planning to conduct suicide attacks in the province, according to an intelligence tip. One of the suicide bombers is reportedly a woman. The bombers are said to have received training for making bombs in PKK camps in northern Iraq.
Soldier laid to rest in İstanbul amid tears
Pvt. Özkan Ateşli, who was killed in the terrorist attack in İzmir's Foça district, was buried amid tears on Friday following a military ceremony in İstanbul.
The slain soldier's remains were taken to İstanbul by air. Ateşli's family members burst into tears upon seeing his coffin. The soldier's widow, Dilara Ateşli, was among the grieving crowd. They had two children. After his relatives paid their final respects, the soldier's remains were taken to a cemevi, or Alevi place of worship, in the Haramidere neighborhood for funeral prayers.
Several members of the military and civilians attended the prayers. Ateşli was later laid to rest.