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Convoy attack in northern Turkey blamed on PKK
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 744 days ago | Friday, 6th May , 2011 , 01:27 [am] | Azerbaijan
|.|| The outlawed Kurdistan Workersâ€™ Party, or PKK, was behind the deadly attack Wednesday on the prime ministerâ€™s convoy, a local official said Thursday, amid growing concerns about the security of the election slated for June 12.
â€œA group of five or six terrorists
The outlawed Kurdistan Workersâ€™ Party, or PKK, was behind the deadly attack Wednesday on the prime ministerâ€™s convoy, a local official said Thursday, amid growing concerns about the security of the election slated for June 12.
â€œA group of five or six terrorists have claimed responsibility [for the attack] on behalf of the PKK,â€ Kastamonu Gov. ErdoÄŸan BektaÅŸ told reporters Thursday.
One police officer was killed and another was injured during Wednesdayâ€™s assault against a convoy taking top aides to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan back to Ankara after an election rally in the northern province of Kastamonu. ErdoÄŸan was not traveling with the convoy.
Police, backed by gendarmerie forces, have launched a large operation to find the assailants, who fled into the surrounding forest area. Police have arrested 12 people on charges of being PKK members in separate operations in eight different cities.
There has been no confirmation or denial from the PKK of the governorâ€™s statement when the HÃ¼rriyet Daily News went to press late Thursday.
â€œWe know that yesterdayâ€™s attack was depicted as if it had targeted the prime ministerâ€™s convoy. But we believe [the assailants] had no intention [of attacking the prime minister] or information on the convoy,â€ BektaÅŸ said, adding that the police were the real target of the assault.
The assailants would have acted differently if their intention was to attack ErdoÄŸan, the governor said. â€œIt was just a coincidence. The group located in the forest was waiting for a police car to open fire. And the first police car was the one accompanying the convoy,â€ he said.
BektaÅŸâ€™s statement was strengthened by a Police Department warning, distributed to all police units throughout the country two days before the Kastamonu assault, that the PKK and its affiliates were preparing for such attacks. The warning cautioned police to be alert against terrorist attacks targeting security forces. It said the primary targets of the terrorists would be the police.
Interior Minister Osman GÃ¼neÅŸ meanwhile indirectly criticized the pro-Kurdish Democracy and Peace Party, or BDP, in his address at a ceremony held for the killed policeman in Kastamonu.
â€œOur people will ruin their dirty scenarios,â€ GÃ¼neÅŸ said, adding that those who were always talking about democracy were in fact sending their children to join the PKK.
â€œThis terrorist organization is the one that has been using armed propaganda as a political tool for years. Itâ€™s impossible for them to gain a reputation through such propaganda,â€ Defense Minister Vecdi GÃ¶nÃ¼l told reporters Thursday, referring to the PKK without openly naming the outlawed group.
Intense security for ErdoÄŸan
Following the attack, police intensified security measures, particularly for ErdoÄŸan and other political party leaders. A special team called â€œCATâ€ has begun to guard the prime minister in Istanbul during his party meetings and in the neighborhood where he stays.
The number of personal guards for main opposition Republican Peopleâ€™s Party, or CHP, leader Kemal KÄ±lÄ±Ã§daroÄŸlu was also increased after the attack. Police will increase security measures at party election rallies as well.
In a show of solidarity against terrorism, KÄ±lÄ±Ã§daroÄŸlu called ErdoÄŸan late Wednesday to express his sorrow about the attack on the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, convoy. KÄ±lÄ±Ã§daroÄŸlu told reporters Thursday morning that ErdoÄŸan informed him about the police investigation but there was no information yet on who might be behind the attack.
â€œWe want the arrest of the perpetrators. This is a terrorist act. We as the CHP have always been against terror. We should stand united against terror,â€ KÄ±lÄ±Ã§daroÄŸlu said, drawing attention to the timing of the assault.
President Abdullah GÃ¼l, Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Åžahin and Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, head Devlet BahÃ§eli all condemned the attack. The BDP had not issued a statement criticizing the attack when the Daily News went to press late Thursday.
Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliamentâ€™s rapporteur on Turkey, condemned the convoy attack in a written statement Thursday and called for a peaceful election.
â€œThe election campaign should be able to introduce opportunities for all citizens and political parties to freely and fearlessly express themselves in political discussions,â€ Oomen-Ruijten said. â€œI sincerely hope the June 12 elections will be a celebration of democracy in Turkey.â€
She also noted that the European Parliament condemned PKK attacks in its latest Turkey report, which called on Turkey and EU members to increase coordination against terrorism.
One death in Hakkari protest
One person died Thursday during an illegal demonstration in the southeastern province of Hakkari, the Anatolia news agency reported.
Ãœbeydullah Durna, 30, died on a buildingâ€™s roof on account of a fire started by the protesting group, which was demonstrating on the YÃ¼ksekova-Åžemdinli highway against anti-PKK operations in the eastern province of Tunceli. Group members attacked police with stones and Molotov cocktails and were met with pressurized water and pepper spray.
Durna was taken to YÃ¼ksekova State Hospital but could not be saved by medical intervention. An ongoing investigation has been started to look into the incident.hurriyet, Voice of a Nation