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At least four people have been killed in a car bomb and gun assault on a courthouse in the Turkish city of Izmir, state media say.

Two attackers, a police officer and a court worker are being reported dead.

Officials blamed Kurdish militants for the attack. A third attacker is reportedly still being sought.

The attackers drove a car to the courthouse entrance, sparking an exchange with police and then detonating the car bomb.

Other of people were injured in the explosion, some critically.

Some of Turkey’s big cities have been targeted recently both by ISIS and by Kurdish militants.

Turkey launched a military operation in Syria last year to push back ISIS and Kurdish forces from the Turkish border.

Image source birgun.com

ISIS had said it was behind last weekend’s Istanbul club attack that left 39 people dead.

Izmir’s Governor Erol Ayyildiz the attackers were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and grenades.

Deputy PM Veysi Kaynak said that, judging by the weapons found following the raid, a much larger attack was being planned.

Images from the scene showed two cars ablaze. Erol Ayyildiz said that the second had been destroyed in a controlled explosion.

Reports of the number of people injured in the car bomb blast ranged from five to 11.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking at the opening of a metro line in the capital, Ankara, said that Turkey was “under mutual attack by terrorist groups and they want Turkey to be brought to its knees”.

The Turkish president said: “They won’t be able to set people against each other. They couldn’t destroy our unity.”

No-one has yet said they carried out the Izmir attack but the governor said initial findings pointed to the involvement of Kurdish fighters from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK is fighting for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey.

It has carried out many attacks on Turkish security forces, particularly in the south-east.

Thirteen soldiers have been killed and other 56 wounded in a car bomb attack in the city of Kayseri, Turkey.

The explosion destroyed a bus carrying soldiers visiting a local market in the city. An army spokesman said civilians may also have been injured.

No group has admitted carrying out the attack, but Turkish officials say it bears the hallmarks of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The new attack comes a week after 44 people were killed in a PKK attack in Istanbul.

Image source EPA

Image source EPA

Regional governor Suleyman Kamci said the explosion in Kayseri, a usually calm industrial hub in Central Anatolia, was carried out by a suicide bomber parked next to the bus near the entrance to Erciyes University. The soldiers were said to be on leave from a nearby military base.

Seven people have been arrested in connection with the attack.

Images from the scene showed the bus reduced to a smoldering wreck with a massive hole punched in one side.

Turkey’s Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmu said the materials used were similar to those used in Istanbul.

“All indications at present point to the PKK,” he said.

President Tayyip Erdogan said that Kurdish militants were attempting to “trip up Turkey, cut its strength and have it focus its energy and forces elsewhere”.

The country has suffered a series of fatal bombings in 2016 at the hands of both the Kurdish militants and jihadists.

Following the car bomb attack, a crowd stormed the Kayseri offices of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), parliament’s second-largest opposition party.

The HDP condemned Kayseri blast and called for an end to “the politics, tone and language that creates tension, polarization, hostility, chaos and conflict”.

The government imposed a temporary black-out on media coverage in the wake of the Kayseri blast.

According to the Associated Press, an instruction from the prime minister’s office urged the media to refrain from publishing anything that may cause “fear in the public, panic and disorder and which may serve the aims of terrorist organizations”.

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Over two hundreds people have been arrested in Turkey for acting on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the interior ministry says.

Among those 235  arrested are officials from the main Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

The arrests come two days after twin bomb attacks near Istanbul’s Besiktas stadium which killed 44 people.

Meanwhile, Austria says that talks with Turkey over membership of the EU should be suspended.

Image source RT

Image source RT

A statement from the interior ministry says the operation covered 11 provinces across Turkey from the northwest to the southeast, and targeted people suspected of “spreading terror group propaganda”.

It is not clear whether December 12 arrests were directly related to the bomb attacks.

Speaking in parliament, Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag said most of the 44 people killed on December 10 were policemen.

The Kurdish militant group TAK, an offshoot of the PKK, said in a statement it had carried out the attack.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on December 11 that Turkey would fight “the scourge of terrorism to the end”, and promised that the attackers would pay a “heavy price”.

Last month, 10 HDP lawmakers – including co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag – were arrested, causing international alarm.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said that Europe could no longer ignore President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on the opposition.

Twenty five Kurdish militants have been killed as Turkey continues to target Kurdish-held areas in Syria, near the border city of Jarablus, the Turkish military says.

However, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 20 people died in strikes on Jeb el-Kussa and another 15 were killed in a separate bombardment near al-Amarneh.

Four local fighters were also killed, the Observatory reported.

It is not yet clear whether the two reports relate to the same incident.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

The strikes came on the fifth day of Turkey’s military operation to target ISIS militants and Kurdish militia inside Syria, dubbed Operation Euphrates Shield.

Speaking in Gaziantep, where ISIS militants killed 54 people at a Kurdish wedding last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “operations against terrorist organizations will continue until the end”.

Turkish tanks and troops backed by Syrian rebels have captured territory from ISIS and clashed with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish militia supported by the United States, which is itself fighting ISIS.

On August 27, Turkey’s military suffered its first fatality of the offensive, when a soldier died in a tank hit by a rocket. Turkish authorities blamed Kurdish militia for the death.

Turkey has been targeting Kurdish-controlled villages around Jarablus, which Turkish-led forces captured from ISIS on the first day of the offensive.

It fears Kurdish fighters gaining an unbroken strip of territory along its border, which would be a huge boost to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a banned Kurdish rebel group fighting for autonomy in Turkey.

Turkey’s operations further complicate the already protracted Syrian civil war. Both Turkey and Kurdish rebels are US allies.

The US has backed Turkey’s anti-ISIS operations in Syria, and both countries have demanded that Kurdish forces withdraw to the east bank of the Euphrates river.

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Turkey has launched new artillery strikes on ISIS targets at Jarablus, northern Syria, amid reports Syrian rebels are to launch an offensive against the Islamist group.

Some 1,500 Turkish-backed Syrian rebels are thought to be in Gaziantep waiting to attack.

A bomb attack on a Kurdish wedding there killed 54 people on August 20.

Turkey also shelled positions at Manbij held by Kurdish YPG fighters, who have been advancing against ISIS.

According to new reports, the attack in Gaziantep, blamed on ISIS, may have been spurred by reports of the imminent Syrian rebel offensive.

Meanwhile, more victims of the suicide attack are being identified.

On August 23, Turkish artillery fired at least 40 shells at ISIS positions in the Jarablus area after two mortar bombs landed in the Turkish town of Karkamis, just across the border, Turkish media report.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Nobody was hurt in the attack on Karkamis.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said ISIS should be “completely cleansed” from northern Syria.

On August 22, Turkey also shelled of ISIS positions but equally the bombardment of Kurdish YPG positions in the Manbij area.

A Turkish official quoted by Reuters said artillery had fired on the Kurds 20 times.

The YPG has been at the forefront of the recent advance against ISIS in northern Syria, leading the liberation of Manbij this month and driving the jihadists towards Jarablus.

However, Turkey links them to its own Kurdish insurgents, the PKK, and is determined to keep them away from its border with Syria.

The fighters poised to enter Syria from Gaziantep are believed to be Turkish-backed Syrian rebels.

A senior rebel official quoted by Reuters said they were fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army.

It is believed that any such operation would be aimed at frustrating any further advance by the Kurds.

The Kurds themselves have non-Kurdish Syrian allies, fighting alongside the YPG under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The identity and motive of the suicide bomber who attacked the wedding party have yet to be revealed.

Soon after the attack, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said ISIS was the likely perpetrator but PM Binali Yildirim said on August 22 that investigators actually did “not have a clue”.

The prime minister downplayed earlier reports that the attacker was a teenager, saying this could not be confirmed.

What is known is that it was a Kurdish wedding and ISIS has targeted Turkish Kurds in the past.

Many of the victims were children as young as 4-year-old.

Sixty-six people are still in hospital, 14 of them in a serious condition, Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported.

At least 30 people have been killed and other 94 injured in a bomb attack at an outdoor wedding party in the south Turkish city of Gaziantep, the authorities say.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said ISIS was likely to have carried it out amid reports of a suicide bomber targeting the party.

The bomb attack, in an area popular with university students, could be heard across the city.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, is known to have several ISIS cells.

A suicide bomber believed to have links to ISIS killed two policemen in Gaziantep in May.

According to a report by AFP news agency, the bomb went off in a part of town with a large Kurdish community and there seem to have been many Kurds at the wedding.

In a written statement published by local media, President Erdogan argued there was “no difference” between ISIS, the Kurdish militants of the PKK, and followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he blames for the coup attempt last month.

“Our country and our nation have again only one message to those who attack us – you will not succeed!” the president said.

On August 20, Turkey’s government said the country would take a more active role in efforts to end the war in Syria.

PM Binali Yildirim said a future political settlement for Syria must not include President Bashar al-Assad, ISIS or Turkey’s own Kurdish separatist rebels, the PKK.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for the first time since the July 15 attempted coup.

Russia is ready to restore economic co-operation and other ties with Turkey, President Vladimir Putin has announced in St. Petersburg.

It is also President Erdogan’s first foreign visit since an attempted coup last month.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan thanked Vladimir Putin, saying “your call straight after the coup attempt was very welcome”.

Russian-Turkish relations soured last November when Turkey shot down a Russian bomber on the Syrian border.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit comes as Turkey’s ties with the West have cooled over criticism of the purge of alleged coup-plotters.

Before leaving Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to Vladimir Putin as his “friend” and said he wanted to open a new page in relations with Russia.

“This visit strikes me as a new milestone in our bilateral relations, starting again from a clean slate,” he told Russia’s Tass news agency.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Vladimir Putin said their talks would cover “the whole range of our relations… including restoring economic ties, combating terrorism”.

After Turkey shot down the Su-24 jet Russia imposed trade sanctions and suspended Russian package tours to Turkey.

In June, the Kremlin said Recep Tayyip Erdogan had apologized for the downing of the jet and had sent a message expressing “sympathy and deep condolences” to the family of the dead pilot.

Then, after the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, Vladimir Putin expressed support for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He did not criticize President Erdogan’s crackdown on political opponents and purge of alleged “plotters” in state institutions.

Turkey’s ties with its NATO allies – especially the US – have been strained by disagreements over the Syrian civil war. Turkey’s priority is to weaken the Kurdish separatist forces, while the US is focusing on destroying ISIS.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was angered by criticism from the EU and the US of the mass detentions of suspected plotters. He demanded that the US extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of organizing the coup. But the United States says Turkey must provide solid evidence before such a move can be considered.

Turkey’s Justice Minister, Bekir Bozdag, says more than 26,000 people have been detained after the attempted coup.

They back opposing sides in Syria. Turkey is furious at the scale of Russian air support for Syrian government forces, as Recep Tayyip Erdogan reviles Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia has accused Turkey of backing Islamist anti-Assad groups, including some accused of “terrorism” in Russia.

Turkey is at war with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the PKK’s Syrian allies. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Russia of arming the PKK.

For centuries Russia and Turkey have been rivals for influence in the Caucasus and Black Sea region.

Turkey was also angered by Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, accusing Moscow of violating the rights of Crimean Tatars. The Muslim Tatars have long had close ties to Turkey.

At least 11 people have been killed after a car bomb targeted a police bus in central Istanbul, Turkish officials say.

The explosives were remotely detonated as the vehicle passed through the busy Vezneciler district at the morning rush hour, reports said.

Four civilians and seven police officers were among the dead, Istanbul’s governor, Vasip Sahin, said. Some 36 other people were injured, he added.

No group has said it carried out the attack.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Turkey violence has escalated recently as a result of tensions with Kurdish separatists and the conflict in neighboring Syria.

The explosion happened near the city’s historic Beyazit Square neighborhood, a major tourist attraction.

Pictures showed the wreckage of a bus destroyed and the facade of nearby buildings damaged. Armed police were also seen next to the site.

Reports said gunfire was heard in the area after the blast.

ISIS and Kurdish militants have both carried out bloody attacks in Turkey in recent months.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said terror groups are targeting civilians because they are losing their struggle against Turkish security forces.

Turkey is part of the US-led coalition against ISIS and allows coalition planes to use its air base at Incirlik for raids on Iraq and Syria.

A two-year-old ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdish militant PKK broke down last summer.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told the European Union that his country will not change its anti-terror laws in return for visa-free travel.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “We’ll go our way, you go yours.”

In response, the EU says Turkey needs to narrow its definition of terrorism to qualify for visa-free travel – which is part of a larger deal between the sides aimed at easing Europe’s migration crisis.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was speaking a day after Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who largely negotiated the EU deal, said he was stepping down.

Ahmet Davutoglu had also reportedly opposed Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plan to give more power to the presidency. The president said the proposed constitutional changes were a national need, not a personal requirement.Recep Tayyip Erdogan song Germany

The wide-ranging EU-Turkey deal involves the return of refugees, mainly Syrians, from Greece to Turkey, along with increased aid and other measures.

One of these is to allow Turkish citizens visa-free travel for short stays in the EU’s Schengen area which comprises 22 EU and four non-EU members.

However, the EU wants Turkey to narrow its broad definition of terrorism to match tighter EU standards. It is one of five EU criteria Turkey still has to agree to in order to meet the visa-free requirements.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected this, saying in a TV speech on May 6: “Turkey, when it’s under attack from terrorist organizations from all sides, the European Union is telling us to change the anti-terror law in exchange for the visa deal.”

Referring to tents erected by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, near the EU parliament in Brussels, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “You [the EU] will let terrorists build tents and provide them with opportunities in the name of democracy.

“And then [you] will tell us ‘if you change this [anti-terrorism legislation], I will lift the visas’. Sorry, we’ll go our way, you go yours.”

In recent months, the Turkish government has used the terms “terrorist” or “terrorist supporter” to prosecute critics including journalists, suggesting they are supporting Kurdish militants or other armed organizations.

If Recep Tayyip Erdogan does not meet the EU requirements, the European Parliament and EU leaders will not vote on the visa waiver at the end of June.

Another part of the EU-Turkey deal had been to hold new talks on Turkish accession to the EU.

However, analysts say Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been less convinced of EU alignment than Ahmet Davutoglu, and he will certainly be a tougher negotiator.

At least four people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack at a busy shopping area in the Istanbul, officials say.

Another 36 were injured – among them 12 foreign nationals – as the bomb went off near a government building on Istiklal Street.

No-one has admitted carrying out the attack, the latest to target Turkey in recent months.

The Turkish government has blamed Kurdish militants for previous attacks and has retaliated against them.

Today’s attack in Istanbul – Turkey’s largest city – occurred at about 11:00 local time.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Three Israeli tourists were among those injured, local media report say. The Israeli foreign ministry has confirmed Israelis were wounded, but has not given the number or said what condition they are in.

Both ISIS and Kurdish militants have claimed recent attacks in Turkey.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said terror groups are targeting civilians because they are losing their struggle against Turkish security forces.

Turkey is part of the US-led coalition against ISIS and allows coalition planes to use its air base at Incirlik for raids on Iraq and Syria.

It has also been carrying out a campaign of bombardment against Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it regards as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

A two-year-old ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK broke down last summer.

Since then, more than 340 members of Turkey’s security forces have been killed along with at least 300 Kurdish fighters and more than 200 civilians.

The TAK (Kurdistan Freedom Hawks) was formed in 2004. It is regarded as the hard-line offshoot of the PKK, rejecting any attempt at ceasefire talks with the Turkish state.

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy for Turkey’s Kurdish minority for decades and has carried out regular attacks on Turkish security forces.

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Turkish authorities have begun security operations against the PKK members in south-eastern Turkey and in Iraq.

The moves come as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed a crackdown on terror after March 13 attack in Ankara that killed at least 36 people.

A suspected bomber, who also died in the blast, was a female member of the PKK, security sources said.

Four people were held over the bombings in the south-eastern city of Sanliurfa, according to Turkish media.

Officials were quoted as saying the car used in the bombing was traced to a showroom there.Ankara bomb attack March 2016

A curfew was declared in three towns in south-east Turkey, while warplanes struck PKK camps in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Eleven warplanes carried out air strikes on 18 targets including ammunition dumps and shelters in the Qandil and Gara sectors, the army said. The PKK (the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party) confirmed the attacks.

Meanwhile curfews have been imposed in two mainly Kurdish towns in south-eastern Turkey, Yuksekova and Nusaybin, as security operations are carried out against Kurdish militants, Anadolu news agency reports.

Another curfew is due to start in the city of Sirnak at 23:00 local time.

No group has admitted carrying out the Ankara attack, but government sources have cast suspicion on the PKK.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala said an investigation would conclude on March 14 and those responsible would be named.

Unnamed officials said the female bomber was a member of the PKK from the eastern town of Kars who joined the group in 2013.

Kurdish rebels have carried out a series of attacks on Turkish soil in recent months, and security forces have raided Kurdish areas, after a ceasefire ended last year. ISIS has also targeted Ankara recently.

Turkey is part of the US-led coalition against IS and allows coalition planes to use its air base at Incirlik for raids on Iraq and Syria.

The country has also been carrying out a campaign of bombardment against Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it regards as a extension of the PKK.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement that terror groups were targeting civilians because they were losing the battle against Turkish security forces.

Calling for national unity, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would use its right to self-defense to prevent future attacks.

At least 32 people have been killed and more than 100 injured after a car bomb exploded in Ankara, Turkey’s health ministry has said.

The explosion happened in Guven Park in the Kizilay district, a key transport hub and commercial area.

Other vehicles at the scene were reduced to burnt-out wrecks, including at least one bus.

Last month, a bomb attack on a military convoy in Ankara killed 28 people and wounded dozens more.

According to the Hurriyet newspaper, the latest blast happened at about 18:40 local time and the area was evacuated in case of a second attack. Many ambulances were at the scene, it added.Ankara explosion Guven Park

No group has yet claimed the attack. However, a security official told Reuters news agency that initial findings suggested it was the work of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or an affiliated group.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said terror groups were targeting civilians because they were losing their struggle against Turkish security forces.

Recep tayyip Erdogan said such attacks “increase our determination to fight terrorism”.

Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu told a news conference that 30 people were killed at the scene and four died later in hospital, however two of the dead are believed to be the attackers. He said 125 people were being treated at several hospitals in Ankara, of whom 19 are in a critical condition.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala said the investigation would be concluded on March 14 and those behind the bombing would be named.

The ministers were speaking after an emergency security meeting called by PM Ahmet Davutoglu.

Turkey, which was the stable corner of the Middle East and the West’s crucial ally in a volatile region, is now at a dangerous moment, the prime minister adds.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the US embassy in Ankara warned its citizens on March 11 of a “potential terrorist plot” in the city.

Last month’s bombing was claimed by a Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK). It said on its website that the attack was in retaliation for the policies of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey, however, blamed a Syrian national who was a member of another Kurdish group.

At least six people were killed and other 39 injured after a car bomb explosion has hit a police headquarters in south-eastern Turkey, officials say.

Five civilians including a baby were among the dead. Rescuers searched the rubble for survivors at the scene in Cinar district, Diyarbakir province.

Turkish officials blamed the blast on Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) militants, who are active in the mainly Kurdish province.

No group has so far said it carried out the attack.

The bomb was detonated at the entrance of the Cinar district police complex, officials say. The attackers then reportedly fired rockets at the headquarters.

The explosion damaged nearby residential buildings, where a mother and her 5-month-old baby were killed. A girl aged one and a 5-year-old boy also died when a house collapsed.

Another police station, in Midyat town, in neighboring Mardin province, was also attacked by militants, according to Turkish media, but there are no reports of casualties.

A ceasefire between the army and the PKK collapsed in July.

A curfew was imposed on Diyarbakir and several other towns and cities as part of a security crackdown after PKK attacks in the east that left 16 soldiers and 14 police officers dead.

Photo AP

Photo AP

There have been repeated clashes between PKK separatists and the Turkish army in recent months, but the violence has escalated in the past week.

Civilians have been caught up in the clashes in the towns of Cizre and Silopi, close to the borders with Syria and Iraq.

Since August 2015, human rights activists say 170 civilians have lost their lives in areas under curfew.

More than 1,100 Turkish and foreign academics have signed a petition calling for an end to Turkish military operations in the south-east, drawing criticism from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Speaking after a suicide bombing in Istanbul blamed on ISIS jihadists, in which ten German tourists were killed, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the government drew no distinction between terror groups, whatever their name.

The hashtag #1128katil (1,128 killers) was trending in Turkey on January 14, particularly among government and nationalist supporters, apparently in reference to the academics.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu condemned the overnight bomb attack and echoed the president’s criticism of the petition.

Turkish jets have bombed PKK bases in northern Iraq and the army launched a ground operation there.

Turkey is also part of a US-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria.

However, Ankara has been accused of hitting mostly PKK targets, angering Kurds who are themselves fighting ISIS in the two countries.

At least 10 people have died and other 15 injured in an explosion in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district near the Blue Mosque, the city authorities say.

Foreign tourists are reportedly among those hurt in the blast.

Some reports suggest the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber.

Turkish police have sealed off the area and the authorities are investigating the type of explosive used, the governor’s office said.Sultanahmet explosion January 2016

Norway’s foreign ministry said a Norwegian man injured in the blast was receiving treatment in hospital, Reuters reported.

Germany’s foreign ministry is investigating reports that German citizens have been hurt in the blast, German media reported.

The ministry has on its website urged German tourists in the city to avoid large crowds and tourist attractions and warned that further violent clashes and “terrorist attacks” are expected across Turkey.

In recent months there have been sporadic attacks by a far-left group in Istanbul, while violence has soared between Turkish forces and PKK Kurdish militants, mainly in southeast Turkey, after a ceasefire broke down.

Turkey has also been hit by bomb attacks blamed by prosecutors on ISIS.

Two suicide blasts in the capital Ankara in October killed more than 100 people and more than 30 people were killed in an attack near the border with Syria in July.

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Selahattin Demirtas’ call for Kurdish autonomy has been condemned by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as “treason”.

Recep Tayip Erdogan said, referring to Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP): “What the co-leader has done is treason, provocation.”

At the weekend the HDP and other pro-Kurdish groups called for self-rule in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish south-east.

Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into those comments.

The Turkish military has stepped up operations against the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is fighting for Kurdish self-rule. The army says it has killed more than 200 PKK militants in the latest fighting.Recep Tayyip Erdogan slams Selahattin Demirtas call for Kurdish autonomy

The PKK is regarded as a “terrorist” organization by Turkey, the US and EU.

The HDP won 59 seats in Turkey’s 550-seat parliament in the November 1 elections. It came third, behind Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Speaking on December 29, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Selahattin Demirtas and other Kurdish leaders would be “taught a lesson” by the people and the law.

He accused Selahattin Demirtas of challenging Article 14 of the constitution, which bans activities deemed to “violate the indivisible integrity of the state”.

On December 27, Selahattin Demirtas backed a declaration by a Kurdish umbrella group – the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) – which called for “autonomous regions” and “self-governance bodies”.

The declaration, issued in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, said the “rightful resistance” of Kurds against Turkish state policies “is essentially a demand and struggle for local self-governance and local democracy”.

It called for the “formation of autonomous regions, to involve several neighboring provinces in consideration of cultural, economic and geographic affinities”.

The PKK has been battling the Turkish military for three decades, in a separatist conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people.

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Thirty five people have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of links to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen accused by the authorities of seeking to overthrow the government.

The Turkish government has accused Fethullah Gulen, the spiritual leader of the Hizmet movement, of trying to run a parallel state.

Turkish media said the arrests include senior bureaucrats and police officers.

Fethullah Gulen was once an ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose AK party was resoundingly re-elected on November 1.

However, the two fell out, and Fethullah Gulen now lives in self-imposed exile in the US.Fethullah Gulen supporters arrested

A Turkish court issued an arrest warrant for the influential cleric in 2014, accusing him of establishing and running an “armed terrorist group” – a claim the cleric strongly denies.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said those detained in today’s raids were suspected of acting “beyond their legal authority”.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decried the work of Fethullah Gulen’s followers as that of “a state within a state”.

He has been seeking to curb the reach the Hizmet movement since 2013.

Last week Turkish police stormed the headquarters of a media group linked to Fethullah Gulen, raising concerns about media freedom days before the country’s election.

The parliamentary election on November 1 followed an earlier, inconclusive poll in June, in which Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP lost its majority in parliament.

The AKP’s victory came amid concerns about rising tensions in Turkey.

Turkey has stepped up operations against ISIS since it was blamed for twin blasts that killed more than 100 people in Ankara last month.

The double bombing, targeting a Kurdish peace rally, was Turkey’s most deadly, and came amid an upsurge of fighting between Turkish forces and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels.

On November 2, the Turkish military said it had carried out air strikes on PKK militant bases across the border in northern Iraq – the first on PKK targets in Iraq since November 1 election.

In a statement on November 3, the military said that Turkish jets hit PKK shelters, bunkers and weapon storages in six locations, including the Qandil mountains where the rebel leaders are based.

The military has been targeting bases and hideouts of the PKK since July, when renewed fighting between the rebels and Turkish security forces broke out, signaling a breakdown in a two-year ceasefire.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won Turkey’s parliamentary election, regaining the majority it lost in June.

Qccording to Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency, with almost all ballots counted, AKP had won 49.4% of the vote, with the main opposition CHP on 25.4%.

PM Ahmet Davutoglu called the result a “victory for our democracy and our people”.

The pro-Kurdish HDP crossed the 10% threshold needed to claim seats.

The nationalist MHP will also take seats in Ankara.

Polls had indicated the AKP would receive only between 40-43% of the vote, in line with how it fared in June, when it lost its majority for the first time in 13 years.

Attempts to form a coalition government after the June election failed.Turkey elections 2015 ballot counting

With almost all of the results counted, the AKP won substantially more than the 276 seats needed to get a majority, allowing it to form a government on its own.

However, the AKP fell 14 seats short of the amount needed to call a referendum on changing the constitution and increasing the powers of the president, the party founder Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

With 60 more seats, the new government would have been able to bring in those changes without a referendum.

The AKP’s opponents had said the vote was a chance to curb what it sees as the increasingly authoritarian tendencies of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Since elections in June, a ceasefire between the Turkish army and militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) collapsed after a suicide bombing in July by suspected Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

The attack near the border with Syria killed more than 30 Kurds.

Turkey then suffered its deadliest attack in its modern history when more than 100 people were killed after a peace rally in Ankara attended by mainly left-wing demonstrators, including many HDP supporters, was targeted by two suicide bombers.

The government said they were linked to ISIS.

Critics have accused Recep Tayyip Erdogan of renewing violence to curb support for the HDP – something the government denies.

The HDP won 10.7% of the vote – enough to give it 59 parliamentary seats, 21 fewer than it claimed in June’s election.

The party cancelled rallies following the Ankara attack, and its co-chairman Selahettin Demirtas said on November 1 that it had not been “a fair or equal election”.

Clashes were reported in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir as the results were being counted. Reuters said police fired tear gas at protesters throwing stones.

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Yunus Emre Alagoz and Omer Deniz Dundar, the two suicide bombers who carried out last week’s attacks in Ankara, are thought to have links to Islamic State (ISIS), Turkish officials have said.

Ankara attacks, the worst in Turkey’s modern history that left 97 people dead, triggered widespread anger against the government.

Police, intelligence and security chiefs in Ankara have been suspended.

The bombers struck as crowds were gathering for a rally against violence between Turkish government forces and the outlawed PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party).

According to Turkish officials, Yunus Emre Alagoz was the brother of the man who carried out the bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc in July, killing more than 30 people.Ankara twin blasts

Omer Deniz Dundar is said to have been in Syria on two occasions.

However, PM Ahmet Davutoglu has said ISIS militants may have collaborated with their PKK counterparts.

The interior ministry meanwhile has said the move to suspend the police, intelligence and security chiefs would enable a “robust” investigation to go ahead.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the site of the bombing on October 14. He has been criticized for not yet addressing the nation four days on from Turkey’s worst ever attack and a time of national tragedy.

Separately, two people have been arrested with alleged links to the PKK for apparently tweeting before the attack that a bombing in Ankara was imminent.

At least 86 people have been killed and other 186 injured after two explosions hit Turkey’s capital Ankara during a peace rally, according to officials.

TV footage showed scenes of panic and people lying on the ground covered in blood, amid protest banners.

The twin blasts took place near Ankara’s central train station as people gathered for a march organized by leftist groups.

The attack is the deadliest of its kind in modern Turkish history.

PM Ahmet Davutoglu has announced three days of national mourning, and said there was evidence that two suicide bombers had carried out the attacks.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack, which comes weeks before an election, was an act of terrorism and was “loathsome”.Ankara bombing death toll

The rally was demanding an end to the violence between the Kurdish separatist PKK militants and the Turkish government, and had been due to start at 12:00 local time.

The pro-Kurdish HDP party was among those attending, and it said in a statement that it believes its members were the main target of the bombings.

The leader of the HDP has blamed the state for the attack, which he called “a huge massacre”, and cancelled all election rallies.

The party has previously blamed the government for colluding in attacks on Kurdish activists, which the government denies.

The two explosions happened shortly after 10:00 local time as crowds gathered ahead of the rally. Amateur video footage showed a group of young people holding hands and singing, before the first blast.

Meanwhile, the PKK called on its fighters to halt its guerrilla activities in Turkey unless attacked first. A statement from an umbrella group that includes the PKK said its forces would “make no attempts to hinder or harm the exercise of a fair and equal election”.

A peace rally in the Turkish capital Ankara has been hit by two explosions, causing multiple casualties, reports say.

At least 20 people have been killed, Turkish news agency Dogan said. TV footage shows scenes of panic and people lying on the ground covered in blood, amid protest banners.

The blasts took place near the city’s central train station.

The target appears to have been a march calling for an end to the violence with the Kurdish separatist group, the PKK.

Photo YouTube

Photo YouTube

PM Ahmet Davutoglu is being briefed by the interior and health ministers, state news agency Anadolu says.

The blasts were a terrorist attack and are investigating reports that a suicide bomber was behind at least one of the explosions, government officials say.

The leader of the pro-Kurdish HDP party has blamed the state for the attack, and canceled all election rallies.

The HDP was among those calling for Saturday’s rally for “peace and democracy”, which was due to start at 12:00 local time.

The party tweeted that there were “numerous dead and injured”, and that police “attacked” people carrying the injured away.

An HDP rally in the city of Diyarbakir was bombed in June, ahead of general elections.

Turkey is holding another election next month.

At least five people have been killed in three separate attacks in Turkey’s south-east and Istanbul.

Four police officers were killed by a bomb on a road in Sirnak province and shortly after, gunmen opened fire on a military helicopter, killing a soldier.

Tension between the Turkish government and Kurdish militants has been rising.

One of the Istanbul attacks, on the US consulate, was carried out by two women and linked to a far-left group.

One of the female assailants in Monday’s attack was wounded and detained, and a rifle and other weaponry were seized, Istanbul’s governor said in a statement.

Photo AFP

Photo AFP

She is said to be a member of a radical Marxist group, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP-C).

The DHKP-C previously claimed a 2013 suicide attack on the US embassy in the capital, Ankara.

The US consulate said in a tweet that it was closed until further notice.

In the other attack in Istanbul, on a police station in the district of Sultanbeyli, a car bomb was detonated, injuring 10 people, including three police officers.

Two suspected militants were killed in ensuing clashes with police and an injured police officer died later in hospital, reports say.

Following the attack on the military helicopter in Sirnak province, Turkish helicopters bombed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in retaliation.

A ceasefire in the long-running conflict with the group appeared to disintegrate in July, when Turkey began bombing PKK camps in northern Iraq, at the same time as launching air strikes on IS militants.

PKK leader Cemil Bayik has accused Turkey of trying to protect ISIS by attacking Kurdish fighters.

Kurdish fighters – among them the PKK – have secured significant victories against ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq.

Turkey, like a number of Western countries, considers the PKK a terrorist organization.

Two soldiers have been killed and four others injured in a car bomb attack on a military convoy in south-eastern Turkey, Turkish officials say.

The explosion late on July 25 happened in the town of Lice in Diyarbakir, the province governor’s office said.

The attack came after Turkey bombed Kurdish separatist camps in northern Iraq – the first such strikes since a peace process began in 2012.

No group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack.

The Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) threatened to break off a two-year ceasefire following Saturday’s raids.Car bomb attack Diyarbakir

There has been a wave of unrest after a suicide bomb in Suruc, blamed on so-called ISIS killed 32 people – mainly university students planning to carry out aid work in Kobane, Syria.

It has included protests and confrontations with police in Ankara and Istanbul.

The PKK’s military wing killed two Turkish police officers on July 22, claiming they had collaborated with ISIS in the bombing in Suruc.

The US has called on both sides to avoid violence, but stressed that Turkey has the right to defend itself against attacks by Kurdish rebels.

The Turkish government has failed to stop ISIS, seeing the group as a useful tool against its Kurdish enemy, the PKK.

Sporadic attacks including one on a police station in Istanbul have raised the specter of a return to conflict between the Turkish state and Kurdish separatists that blighted the country for 30 years and killed 40,000 people.

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Turkey’s military has attacked ISIS positions in Syria and Kurdish PKK militants in northern Iraq to defend the country’s security, Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu announces.

Ahmet Davutoglu added that 590 suspected ISIS and PKK members had been arrested.

It follows a week which saw a bomb attack blamed on ISIS kill 32 people in the Turkish town of Suruc.

Subsequent clashes with ISIS militants on the Turkey-Syria border led to the death of a Turkish soldier.

The PKK’s military wing said it had killed two Turkish police officers on July 22, claiming they had collaborated with ISIS in the bombing in Suruc, which targeted left-wing activists.

A government statement on July 25 said the air force had hit PKK shelters, bunkers, storage facilities and other “logistic points” in northern Iraq, including the Qandil mountains where the PKK’s high command is based.Turkey attacks ISIS in Syria

It did not give details of what the jets had targeted in their attacks on ISIS in Syria.

Turkey’s military had also shelled Islamic State and PKK positions from across the Turkish border, the statement said.

Speaking to reporters on July 25, PM Ahmet Davutoglu said: “Unfortunately Turkey is surrounded by a ring of fire.

“In such an atmosphere, Turkey tries to keep her democracy and development alive… these operations have carried a message to the countries in the region and to international circles: whatever happens in Syria and Iraq, in our border regions, we will not allow them to threaten Turkey’s security and will not hesitate to take necessary measures.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said areas of northern Syria cleared of ISIS fighters would become natural “safe zones”.

Turkey has also said it will let the US use a key airbase to attack ISIS targets.

The group has been fighting Turkey for an autonomous homeland for the Kurds for decades.

In a statement on its website quoted by Reuters news agency, the PKK said: “The truce has no meaning any more after these intense air strikes by the occupant Turkish army.”

The Turkish government has faced criticism at home and abroad for not doing enough against ISIS, despite being part of the international coalition fighting it.

The first round of anti-ISIS air strikes on July 24 marked the first time Turkey had confirmed air strikes against targets in Syria since ISIS began its advance through Iraq and Syria in 2013.

The agreement to let the US use the Incirlik airbase, following months of negotiations, was made in a phone call between President Barack Obama and his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – but has yet to be approved by the Turkish cabinet.

The Turkish government could allow the US to step up air strikes against ISIS, as it is closer to northern Syria and Iraq than the Gulf, which currently serves as a launch-pad for bombing missions.

A Turkish soldier has been killed as Turkey’s military and ISIS fighters have exchanged fire over the Syrian-Turkish border.

The governor of Kilis province said another two soldiers were injured when a border post was attacked from Syria.

Turkey responded with heavy weapons, reportedly killing one ISIS militant.

It is the latest violence to hit Kurdish-dominated south-east Turkey, three days after 32 people were killed by a bomber linked to ISIS in Suruc.

Also on July 23, a Turkish traffic policeman was shot dead in the city of Diyarbakir. The officer and a colleague were attacked while attending a collision.

The second officer was badly injured. No group has yet said that it was behind the shooting of the officers.

“Unfortunately, one of our non-commissioned officers has been martyred and two sergeants injured,” Kilis Governor Suleyman Tapsiz told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency.

Suleyman Tapsiz added that the two wounded soldiers were in a stable condition.

In response, Turkish tanks opened fire on ISIS-controlled targets inside Syria, Turkish media report.Turkish soldier killed by ISIS at Syrian border

The two attacks on July 23 have added to the bloodshed in the area of Turkey nearest to ISIS-held territory.

On July 20, a suicide blast killed 32 people in the mainly Kurdish town of Suruc, near the Syrian border.

On July 22, two other policemen were shot dead in their home in Celanpinar, 100 miles from Suruc.

The military wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) said it was behind that attack.

They said it was revenge for the killings in Suruc, and said the men had collaborated with ISIS fighters.

On July 23, Turkish security forces arrested three people for killing the two men in Celanpinar, Anadolu said.

A 20-year-old Turkish student has been identified as the suicide bomber who killed the 32 youth activists in Suruc.

The attacker, named by local media as Seyh Abdurrahman Alagoz, was an ethnic Kurd from Turkey’s south-eastern province of Adiyaman and reportedly had links to ISIS militants.

Seyh Abdurrahman Alagoz’s mother told the newspaper Radikal that her son was a former student at Adiyaman university who had gone “abroad” six months ago with his brother.

“I don’t know what they were doing abroad, they never said. They were just telling me they were fine,” Semure Alagoz said.

A senior Turkish official told Reuters that he believed the bomber, who he did not name, had travelled to Syria last year with the help of a group linked to ISIS militants.

Many in Turkey feel the government has not done enough to support the Kurds in their fight to combat the threat of ISIS fighters across the border in Syria – something denied by Ankara.

On July 23, one ISIS fighter alleged to have crossed from Syria into Turkey was shot dead by the youth wing of the PKK in Istanbul.

The group said the man had travelled from Kobane to Istanbul for treatment seven months ago, and had been planning attacks in the city.

Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey, has renewed a call for his fighters to end their armed struggle in the country.

In a message read out at a huge rally marking the Kurdish New Year, Abdullah Ocalan called for a congress to decide on abandoning the insurgency.

PKK has been waging a 30-year armed struggle for Kurdish independence.

Abdullah Ocalan called a ceasefire in 2013 and there are growing hopes of a long-term deal.

More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died in fighting for a Kurdish homeland in Turkey’s south-east.

Abdullah Ocalan has been in prison since 1999, serving a life sentence for treason.Abdullah Ocalan PKK

His message was delivered instead by Sirri Sureyya Onder, a pro-Kurdish politician who visited Abdullah Ocalan in jail on March 19.

Hundreds of thousands attended the celebration in Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish-populated city in eastern Turkey, with many carrying images of the imprisoned leader.

A ceasefire announced by Abdullah Ocalan in 2013 still holds despite ongoing mistrust between the two sides.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan angered some Kurds by saying the country “never had a Kurdish problem”.

Turkey is facing parliamentary elections later this year, with analysts suggesting Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments were an attempt to shore-up nationalist support.

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