Elite Team Brought into Ongoing Search for Perpetrators of Attack in Turkey’s Black Sea Region, while Kurdish Conflict Simmers Across Country

Reinforcements have been brought into the search for the perpetrators of last week’s attack on Turkish security forces in the country’s Ordu region, which runs along the Black Sea coast.

The attack, likely carried out by Kurdish militants, was outside of areas affected in the most recent round of fighting. Three soldiers were killed and more were wounded in an attack which combined assault rifle fire and grenades; the Kurdish conflict also continues to simmer across the country with a number of incidents.

The elite ‘storm’ team has been brought into help with the search for the escaped militants. The storm team has reportedly had a lot of previous success in chasing down PKK militants, the group who is suspected of carrying out the attack. Moreover, the team is familiar with the mountainous, forested territory of the region where the attack occurred.

The search for the militants has been underway since the attack, which occurred nine days ago. The entry of this team to the search, along with a general intensification of the search, demonstrates the extent to which an attack occurring so far from the typical areas of the conflict has shaken the government. The Turkish government will be eager to make an example of these militants and demonstrate that it can provide security across Turkey. Indeed, the aim of this attack was likely to increase Turkey’s sense of insecurity.

The Kurdish conflict continues to simmer across Turkey over the last days, with one person being killed this morning in a roadside bomb in the Hakkari province in the south east of the country.

Yesterday, in Batman, also in the south east, a police station was attacked with a noise bomb. In Bayburt, towards the Black Sea region, a mob attacked a minibus which had brought Kurdish students to the town to take an exam; the students had been brought from another city to Bayburt to take a state exam and were housed in student accommodations. Some reportedly hung a Kurdish or PKK flag from the building, after which a group of locals came and set fire to the minibus that had brought them.

The provincial governor defended the actions of the locals, saying they were responding to terrorist propaganda. Others described the attack as a dangerous and racist mob action, which could have become an attempted lynching, had police not intervened. Tensions around the Kurdish conflict are clearly showing no signs of subsiding, and are gaining in expression across the country.

George Dyson

Analyst working on conflict-resolution and peace-building in Turkey and the MENA region. Also works as a political and security risk consultant, as a business intelligence investigator, and writes on identity politics across the region. www.menainthemiddle.com. Follow on Twitter and Linkedin.