ISTANBUL (ANP) – “Our revenge will be great”, stated the Turkish president Abdullah Gül after PKK attacks in the country’s south east. The attacks on several police and army posts left 24 soldiers dead and 22 wounded.
Turkish ground troops crossed the border with Northern Iraq for the first time since 2008 in pursuit of the PKK fighters.
The increasing violence casts a shadow over the work of a parliamentary commission that is negotiating a new Turkish constitution. The commission was officially installed this Tuesday and held its first meeting on Wednesday morning in spite the violence.
The new constitution could contribute to solving the Kurdish question, but the atmosphere is extremely tense now: the Kurdish party BDP is being criticized for not distancing itself enough from the violence of the PKK. The BDP is in general considered the political branch of the PKK. The BDP is against the Turkish air strikes on PKK camps in Northern Iraq, and protests the arrest of hundreds of Kurdish politicians and activists who allegedly have ties with the PKK.
Violence between the PKK and the Turkish army has increased considerably since the general elections in June. The PKK and affiliated groups don’t only attack Turkish military and police posts, but have for example also kidnapped other state employees, like teachers, and committed bomb attacks which resulted in civilian deaths.
The Turkish army carries out air strikes on PKK camps in Northern Iraq on an almost daily basis. The Kurdish-Iraqi authorities now and then evacuate villages in the area to prevent civilian casualties. With the Turkish ground troops now having crossed the border, a new phase in the fight has started.