June 10, 2011: Turkey is concerned that Syria will release members of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) that it currently has in custody, and potentially put more rebel fighters back on the battlefield. Syria has announced that its general amnesty applies to all political prisoners. The Syrians began freeing prisoners at the end of May.
June 3, 2011: The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is indicating that no matter who wins the June 12 national election, it will accelerate its civil disobedience campaign. The BDP says that the Arab Spring protests show that civil disobedience can be very effective. The BDP wants the Turkish government to respond to the demands of Turkish Kurds.
May 29, 2011: Three students were injured when a pro-PKK group threw Molotov cocktails at their dormitory. The attack took place in Cizre (Sirnak province). The mob also attacked businesses in the area. The government believes the attacks were part of a plot to ignite further pre-election violence.
May 27, 2011: The PKK’s senior commander, Abdullah “Apo” Ocalan, remains in jail but he is still issuing political guidance. Ocalan recently suggested that Kurds create a coalition political party (umbrella party) that would also include labor movements. Ocalan is a Marxist.
May 26, 2011: A bomb exploded in an Istanbul shopping center, and left eight people injured. One was a policeman. Turkish authorities blamed the PKK for the attack.
May 22, 2011: The Republican Peoples Party (CHP) said that if it takes control of parliament in the upcoming elections, it will end the war in Turkey’s Kurdish regions (primarily southeastern Turkey). The CHP party leader is Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is a Kurd. The CHP is the secularist (Kemalist) party in Turkey. The CHP also promised not to put any limits on the internet (no censorship).
May 17, 2011: A captured PKK rebel informed police interrogators that his PKK group (which was in northern Iraq) was using a dictionary code system (also called a book system) to encrypt its messages. This is a technique as old as printed books. The encoder and decoder both have the same edition of a specific book (usually a very big one) and the code system relies on both knowing which page to turn to in order to. A second, third, or fourth indicator in the code will indicate a line on the page or dictionary entry, and another indicator a word in the line or entry. The decoder finds the specific page and word or letter indicated, and plugs it into the message. It is time consuming but breaking the code (if you don’t know the specific book or edition) can take a lot of sophisticated computing power.
May 14, 2011: Turkish troops killed 12 Kurdish fighters in an ambush in Sirnak province (southeastern Turkey). The Turkish security force attacked the PKK rebels as they infiltrated across the Iraq-Turkey border.
May 11, 2011: PKK rebels fired on a security position in the town of Silopi (Iraq-Turkey border). Two Turkish policemen were killed and one wounded.
May 8, 2011: In Hakkari province, there was a street battle between the Kurdish Islamist organization Hizbullah (Turkish Hizbullah) and PKK supporters. One member of Hizbullah was killed. Hizbullah issued a statement that said it would not retaliate against the PKK and the PKK supporters, but also warned the PKK to avoid further violence. Turkish Hizbullah supporters and the PKK have clashed before.
May 7, 2011: The PKK claimed responsibility for a May 4th attack on a police convoy that just happened to be escorting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The PKK said that the attack was directed at the police and not the prime minister but it should serve as a warning to Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). One policeman died in the ambush. So far Turkish police have arrested eight suspects in the convoy attack.
May 5, 2011: Kurdish politicians warned that violence could escalate in southeastern Turkey as the national election nears if the Turkish military escalates operations in southeastern Turkey. The statement came as the Turkish press was filled with new claims that the PKK intended to stoke violence in the region in order to disrupt the elections.
May 3, 2011: A Turkish soldier died in a firefight with PKK rebels in Hakkari province near the town of Cukurca. His unit intercepted a PKK group that was infiltrating from northern Iraq.