Turkey - Two more killed in PKK-related bombings

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Monday, September 4, 2006

Bomb blasts in South-eastern Turkey have claimed the lives of two people, one of them a police officer and injured up to 14 other people. The bombing comes during the escalating battle between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the separatist group fighting for an independent state between the Iraq-Turkish border.

The two bombs appear to have been detonated by remote control as police investigated claims of a suspicious package left near a garden area in the town of Catak (in the Van province). Authorities in the area said that the bomb had been located in a rubbish bin. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), who are linked to the PKK, have claimed responsibility for the attack. On Tuesday, 29 August, the groups website carried the message, "We will trun Turkey into hell." They also warned foreign tourists to stay away from the country.

The frequency and sophistication of these attacks appear to be on the rise, following other bombings last week. The previous attacks at Turkish holiday resorts, which killed 3 people and injured over 100 (10 of them Britons), were also claimed by TAK. Many of the recent bombings have been aimed at tourists. In recent years Turkey has improved its foreign reputation as a safe country by promoting tourism, now the disruption to that industry places thousands of jobs (and millions of dollars in revenue) at risk.

In a separate incident, 7 Turkish soldiers were killed in a clash with PKK militants in the south east. The militants are reported to have launched an attack against the soliders in their army post on the Iraq-Turkey border. The Turkish government has warned that unless Kurdish separatist violence stops it will take action against PKK targets in Iraq, sending its own troops across the border. The threat was reiterated by the newly-inaugurated chief of Turkish defense forces General Yasar Buyukanit, who vowed to defeat Kurdish terrorism.