Two groups within the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have engaged in an internal armed clash, according to radio communication revealed by the Turkish military, marking one of the first of such conflicts since the apprehension of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1999.
Intercepting the radio communications of PKK militants, troops from the Hakkari 3rd Division Command revealed that around 50 shots were fired from the south of Tarzo Tepe region near the Şetünüs region in northern Iraq. There were casualties in the clash while sources in the region also confirmed gunshots.
“We shot Ciwan along with four others. The others escaped to the opponent side and we are following,” one intercepted radio conversation revealed.
According to the military, the armed clash erupted between militants who recently joined the organization and older militants.
The new militants were reportedly forced to clash on the front line, leading to their deaths. Older radio communications also confirmed similar clashes within the party have taken place.
Security forces, meanwhile, took precautions against the militants who reportedly escaped to the Turkish side.
In addition, a total of 510 PKK militants have been “neutralized” in security operations conducted in the rural area of Çukurca and Yüksekova districts of the eastern province of Hakkari since Aug. 24, military sources said.
Neutralized is a euphemism used by the Turkish military to denote enemy militants that either killed or incapacitated.
Over the past three months, areas that the organization described as impenetrable were cleared of militants as a result of raids.
Separately, a total of 71 suspects have been detained as a part of an investigation into a PKK bomb attack on Derik District Gov. Muhammed Fatih Safitürk, Mardin Gov. Mustafa Yaman said Nov. 15.
Yaman said all suspected perpetrators of the attack and their cooperators were still under detention, adding that 28 of the detained were public officials.
According to the governor, it has been evaluated that the bomb, which was brought via mail and placed in Safitürk’s office on Nov. 8, was remotely detonated by District Governor’s Office and municipal personnel identified as T.E. and V.E. respectively.
Safitürk was wounded on Nov. 10 when a bomb placed in his office was detonated. He succumbed to his injuries in hospital in the southeastern province of Gaziantep one day later.
PKK militants attack AKP district HQ in Van
Early on Nov. 15, PKK militants staged an operation targeting the district headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the Muradiye district of the eastern province of Van.
There were no casualties in the attack but the building was severely damaged.
The party’s district head İbrahim Vanlı told reporters that a hand-bomb was thrown from behind the building and exploded in the kitchen.
He also vowed that the party would not be intimidated by such attacks and that the reaction of the people would eventually stop the militants.