The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a separatist terrorist group operating in southeastern Turkey, has moved toward laying remote-controlled mines after Iraq's invasion by the US, rather than face-to-face combat, and is using northern Iraq as its arsenal, recent reports suggest.
The Kurdistan Workers Party terrorists take defensive positions near a training camp in the Qandil Mountain Range, northern Iraq in this file photo.
According to intelligence reports by the General Staff, the PKK has seven arms depots in northern Iraq. It uses inns on the Kandil Mountains as the core depots and has also established other depots in Hakurk, Bekur, Misalog, Zaro, Cemalurti, Armus-Ciya and Minazerdi.
The PKK has reportedly spent $15 million for arms purchase in the last two years. This separatist group specifically purchases antitank, antiaircraft and anti-rocket weapons. Also interested in buying mines and remote-controlled explosives, it currently holds Dokça, Kanas, RPG-7 rocket launchers, BCK fuses, M-16s, Kalashnikovs and C3, C4 and A4 explosives.
The PKK has been logistically supported by Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq. Its militants benefit from the hospitals controlled by the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The group, which previously used the hospitals in the Iranian city Urumiye before the US occupation, started using the hospitals in northern Iraq following the improved relations between Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani. The Iranian operations against the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), the PKK's extension in Iran, are also cited as the decision to move from the Iranian hospitals to those based in northern Iraq. The intelligence reports indicate that PKK leader Murat Karayılan was treated in a hospital controlled by the KDP.
According to the reports by the General Staff, in operations between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 this year, 159 terrorists were killed and 128 were captured alive. A total of 75 others surrendered to the security forces. During the same period 176 explosive mechanisms set up by the PKK were deactivated. In 112 incidents the explosives were remotely detonated by the security forces.
The operations focused on Hakkari, Şırnak, Siirt, Batman, Bingöl, Tunceli, Elazığ, Muş and Van. In the operations during the said period, 362 terrorists were either killed or captured alive. Meanwhile the General Staff extended the status of the temporary security zone scheduled to expire on Sept. 9 in Hakkari, Şırnak and Siirt provinces until Dec. 10.
The current PKK strategy is mainly based on remote detonation of previously planted explosives without directly confronting the security forces in armed combat. A total of 78 members of the security forces were martyred in mine explosions between the dates studied. Reports indicate that the move in the PKK's strategy from direct engagement to mine explosions is attributable to the organization's inability to recruit young people.
The Turkish security forces have so far seized 50,925 kilograms of TNT, 143 kilograms of A4 plastic explosive, 85.8 kilograms of C4 explosives, two-and-a-half kilograms of C3 explosives, 795 kilograms of ammonium/potassium nitrate, 40 anti-personnel mines, three anti-tank mines and 98 miscellaneous items belonging to the PKK.
Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2007, 11:08