Turkish forces on high alert against PKK attacks

Updated: 2007-10-19 21:55

ANKARA -- Turkish security forces in the southeast have gone on high alert against possible attacks by the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) after lawmakers approved a motion authorizing a cross-border operation into northern Iraq, newspaper Today's Zaman reported on Friday.

According to the report, deployment of military equipment on the border has intensified and military activities have increased in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakir, Sirnak, Hakkari and Tunceli, while operations against PKK around Cudi, Gabar and Kato mountains are still under way.

Security measures have been tightened in Sirnak city in Diyarbakir, where a number of PKK Molotov cocktail attacks had took place, and the police have been searching for suspicious individuals all across the city.

Turkish intelligence indicated that the PKK, which has been cornered with mounting operations, has decided to focus on terrorist attacks in city centers rather than in rural areas.

Leaders of the PKK have reportedly ordered its members to stage attack in city centers in order to cause panic and fear among the public, said the report.

The military is particularly focusing on point-blank range operations on land. The territory over which the operation may take place is being determined on the basis of information from intelligence sources that are mapping the locations of PKK bases located in northern Iraq.

The Turkish parliament passed late Wednesday a motion by 507 votes to 19, authorizing the military to carry out incursion of northern Iraq for pounding the estimated 3,000 PKK fighters.

But Prime Minister Erdogan has said the passage doesn't mean immediate military incursion.

The PKK has increased its attacks on government troops in southeastern Turkey, which led to rising Turkish demands for an incursion into northern Iraq to crush the rebels based there.

The group, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, launched an armed campaign for an ethnic homeland in the mainly Kurdish southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking decades of strife that has claimed more than 30, 000 lives.

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