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Turkey's long dormant insurgency by Kurdish separatists has reignited with a spate of attacks.
“Whenever Turkey has a say in the international community, whenever we fly high, some circles take action to bring trouble to Turkey and disturb peace and calm,” said AKP Deputy Chairman Huseyin Celik. “These could be orchestrated international powers or their subcontractors in Turkey.”
On the day of the botched Israeli commando raid on the Gaza flotilla — in which nine Turkish citizens died — seven Turkish soldiers were killed in a PKK attack on a naval base in the Mediterranean city of Iskenderun.
“The PKK may be thinking that the U.S. and especially Israel will understand, welcome and, in Israel's case, even support anything that creates trouble for Turkey, Erdogan and the AKP,” said Bahadir Koc, a researcher at the 21st Century Turkey Institute in Ankara. “They know that Turkey is not yet ready for their demands, hence the need for them to inflict a little more pain.”
With attacks expected to mount in the coming weeks, Turks are bracing themselves for a long hot summer of military action.
“Will we see large scale civil disobedience by the Kurds and will the PKK strike civilian targets in the West?” Koc asked. “Both are more than likely.”
The Turkish military will boost its intelligence collaboration with the U.S., press into service the surveillance airplanes it purchased from Israel and may order several more attack helicopters. U.S. Ambassador to Ankara James Jeffrey stated that Washington is “ready to review urgently any new requests from the Turkish military or government regarding the PKK.”
Some are doubtful whether the solution can be military.
“There will be a cross-border operation which will be satisfied with a meaningless air operation in which they will destroy already deserted buildings and a cosmetic limited land operation,” Koc said.