PKK stronghold in Turkey destroyed

The camp has been crucial to the PKK’s operations in Hakkari, and was believed to be untouchable by outside forces.

Turkish security forces have brought down a Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) camp located in Kavaklı, just 30 kilometers from the provincial center of Turkey’s southeastern province of Hakkari and believed to be a key base for the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the organization controlling the PKK and affiliated groups, both logistically and strategically.

On Monday, gendarmerie and police special operations units, which have been carrying out operations in the region for the past week, dealt a severe blow to the camp, reports from the region said. PKK militants fled the scene in panic, but security forces have surrounded the camp.

The camp has been crucial to the PKK’s operations in Hakkari, and was believed to be untouchable by outside forces.

Security forces have been storming the camp for the past four days, and reports say the operation has paid off, as much of the Kavaklı camp has been destroyed. According to initial reports from the site, the terrorists left behind a complex structure of underground dwellings, caves and caverns shaped to accommodate the needs of the PKK terrorists. These include underground interrogation rooms, a three-storey cave (which Turkish journalists quickly dubbed the “triplex cave”), cells and caverns filled with food and medical supplies. A large amount of ammunition was also seized during the operation. Any ammunition that could not be moved was destroyed at the site by bomb experts.

Ground troops are being assisted in the operation by military helicopters. The Kayseri Mountain Rangers Brigade has blocked most of the routes fleeing terrorists are likely to use. According to recent intelligence reports, Heron unmanned air vehicles have spotted about 200 terrorists in the area. Operations to capture them are still underway.

The Kavaklı Camp was seen as a fortress for the KCK, used as a base from which the group could exert pressure and control over the local people in Hakkari, since it was so close to the city. The camp, which was used for arms training as well as executions, interrogations and punishment, has become a nightmare for the people of the area. Many people who didn’t comply with the PKK’s order to boycott the 2010 constitutional referendum were “tried” here. The order to kill Aziz Tan, the imam of Hakkari’s Hacı Sait Mosque, known for his work to keep children out of demonstrations and off the street, was also given here, according to intelligence sources.

Clashes and operations continued elsewhere in Turkey both on Monday night and throughout the day Tuesday. The PKK attacked a residential complex for police officers in Çemişgezek, a district of Tunceli, on Monday night, as well as the district governor’s office and the Gendarmerie Command. There were no reports of casualties in those attacks as of Tuesday afternoon.

Also on Monday, militants with long-range rifles attacked the Hazro District Gendarmerie Command in Diyarbakır. The command was the target of a rocket-launcher attack by the PKK only 1.5 months ago, in which one soldier was killed. Gendarmerie soldiers responded to PKK shooting with anti-aircraft weapons and rocket-launchers. The clash at the outpost continued well into Tuesday afternoon. Meanwhile, there were reports of blackouts in various neighborhoods of Hazro. Security forces toured the city with loudspeakers, warning residents against leaving their homes to ensure their safety.

Also on Monday, ten pro-PKK demonstrators attacked a police booth in front of a state agency in central Diyarbakır with a sound bomb. Molotov cocktails were also used in the attack, but no one was hurt. On Tuesday, police in Diyarbakır began conducting an investigation to capture the assailants.




11 October 2011 Tuesday