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Monday, May 9, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Turkey fears Kurdish Workers Party attacks ahead of June elections

ANKARA — Turkey has assessed that the Kurdish Workers Party has decided to launch an offensive.


Officials said the PKK has directed a campaign against Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party ahead of parliamentary elections on June 12. They said the intelligence community has traced orders for attacks on Erdogan and other candidates to PKK's operational headquarters in Iraq's Kandil mountains.

"We have captured equipment and intercepted messages that clearly outline the terrorist campaign," an official said.

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The PKK was said to have sent operatives as well as other supporters in the attempt to disrupt the elections campaign. On May 4, a 25-member insurgency squad directed by the PKK attacked a convoy meant to contain Erdogan and his political allies in the Ilgaz mountain in southeastern Turkey.

Officials said the strike, in which one police officer was killed, was traced to PKK commanders in Kandil. They identified the commander as Murat Karayglan, said to have been in contact with squads through tactical radios.

"Set up a big fire in Ilgaz," Sofi Nurettin, the PKK liasion of Karayglan, was quoted as ordering the squad.

Turkish special forces have scoured the area of the attack on Erdogan's convoy, in which the prime minister and other parliamentary candidates were whisked away about an hour before the shootout. The forces found weapons, ammunition and tactical radios.

The last message through the radio to the PKK command was quoted as saying: "We have completed the attack." On May 5, the PKK claimed responsibility for the ambush.

Officials said the PKK has been using other insurgency groups to sustain the offensive against Erdogan. They cited Tikku, a Marxist group said to have staged at least two attacks in the Kastamonu province over the last month.

"The attack in Kastamonu was launched by friends," a PKK radio intercept was quoted as saying. "An operation is underway in Ilgaz mountain and friends should be careful. It was really a good attack. The only target is now Justice and Development Party."

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