RealNews

Kurdish attack in Turkey rekindles fear over rebels

The attack on government troops by Kurdish militants last week–one day after rebels ended a 5-year-old cease-fire — has prompted concern among diplomats and analysts of renewed violence in the southeast and other parts of Turkey. The concerns were underscored by the rebels’ warning to foreign tourists and business people to stay out of Turkey as they renew their fight. The feared escalation of violence comes at a crucial time for the Turkish government. Ankara has improved its human-rights record and granted new freedoms to the Kurdish minority in an attempt to win approval in December to start negotiations to join the European Union. The militant group, known by various names over the years, including the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, and more recently as KONGRA-GEL, ended open hostilities with the government in 1999 after 15 years of conflict that took 37,000 lives on both sides. But the cease-fire was marred by constant, low-intensity skirmishes. Clashes had escalated in recent months. Selahattin Demirtas, head of the Diyarbakir Human Rights Association, said 26 rebel fighters and soldiers have been killed in the past two months, the bloodiest period since 1999. Full Story

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