July 16, 2011: Since the Turkish elections last month, even more conspiracy theories have been circulating, most of them directed at the military. One theory links the Ergenekon conspiracy to the PKK’s decision to escalate its secessionist war in 2004. Here’s how the conspiracy goes. Secularists in the military wanted to rattle the moderate Islamist government led by the Justice and Development Party (AKP). So they convinced imprisoned PKK senior commander, Apo Ocalan, to consider ordering PKK fighters to resume their war. Is it likely? Probably not, but the story serves the purposes of the AKP, which wants to discredit secularists in the military. The PKK has several factions, some more militant that others. The militants think that ceasefires and negotiations weaken the organization. So they escalate in order to make less militant factions choose sides. If those favoring negotiations don’t resume the fight then they get called traitors.
July 15, 2011: A police officer was killed in Siirt province after his vehicle was attacked by rebels. Over the past two months the PKK has increased its attacks on policemen, police vehicles, and police facilities.
Jul 14, 2011: PKK rebels ambushed a Turkish security force unit near the town of Silvan (Diyarbakir province, southeastern Turkey) and killed 13 soldiers. The PKK attack was one of the group’s biggest in several months. The PKK ambushed the troops in a heavily forested area, where the army was looking for two soldiers and a health worker kidnapped by PKK operatives. Several soldiers died in a fire ignited by PKK grenades. Seven PKK guerrillas were killed. This is the largest loss of life suffered by Turkish defense forces in a battle with the PKK since 2008.
July 12, 2011: Security forces continue to look for four PKK rebels who kidnapped two soldiers on July 9. Military patrols are sweeping the area between the city of Diyarbakir and the town of Lice (southeastern Turkey). The PKK has announced that it is holding the soldiers, as well as a Turkish health worker.
July 8, 2011: PKK fighters clashed with a Turkish military patrol in Tunceli province (eastern Turkey). One Turkish soldier died in the firefight. The firefight occurred after the PKK attacked and destroyed a truck.
June 30, 2011: Turkish security forces killed two PKK rebels in a firefight in Hakkari province (southeastern Turkey). Troops seized numerous weapons after the firefight. In an another incident in Hakkari, a Turkish soldier was wounded when a land mine exploded.
June 28, 2011: PKK rebels attacked police stations in two towns (Semdinli and Dogubeyazit) in Hakkari province. The rebels used machine guns and rockets in both attacks, but there were no casualties reported in either incident.
June 27, 2011: Turkish security forces killed three PKK rebels in a battle near the village of Burnak in Tunceli province.
June 22, 2011: PKK rebels killed two policemen in an attack in Tunceli province. The rebel force detonated a remote-controlled bomb when the police vehicle passed on the rural highway. In response, the Turkish Interior Ministry said that several operations have begun against PKK members in Tunceli. The PKK has been increasing the number of attacks launched on police stations and police vehicles in the province.
June 20, 2011: A PKK spokesman demanded that the Turkish government end all military and police operations against their organization. The demand was made as a condition for renewing a ceasefire. The spokesman also demanded that PKK senior commander Abdullah Ocalan be permitted to begin negotiations with the Turkish parliament. The spokesman said that these were minimal conditions in order to create a durable ceasefire. The demand comes three days after Ocalan’s attorneys had announced that the imprisoned PKK senior commander had decided to extend the ceasefire the PKK has supposedly been observing since 2010. And supposedly is the way to describe it. PKK attacks increase then decrease, but there is no cease. Then again, there is no let up in Turkish security force activity, either, except during winter when it’s too cold to fight.
June 15, 2011: Six PKK fighters surrendered to Turkish forces near the town of Silopi in Sirnak province (southern Turkey).
June 14, 2011: Turkish security forces killed three PKK fighters in a battle near the town of Imranli (Sivas province, southeastern Turkey).