Terrorist Attacks Kill 5 in Turkey
Posted: July 26, 2005
The Turkish government has accused a Kurdish terrorist group of orchestrating the bombing of a minibus in a Turkish resort town. The bombing killed 5 people, including 2 foreigners.
The July 16 attack occurred as the minibus, packed with tourists, was traveling through Ataturk Square in Kusadasi, a beach town on the Aegean coast.
Police investigators have determined that the blast, which sheared the roof off the minibus, was caused by a small bomb placed in a backpack underneath a seat. The person who planted the bomb reportedly exited the bus minutes before the explosion. It is not yet known if the bomb was set off by a timer or by cell phone.
Turkish authorities suspect that a militant Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), is responsible for planting the bomb. The TAK claimed responsibility for a similar bombing, which wounded 20 people, 6 days earlier in the nearby town of Cesme. The group is thought to have strong links to the primary Kurdish militant organization, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is connected to hundreds of attacks on Turkish civilians and military personnel.
The PKK has engaged in a guerrilla war against the Turkish government since 1984, during which time over 37,000 people have been killed. Though the PKK signed a cease-fire in 1999 with the Turkish government, it renounced the agreement in 2004.
In the past few weeks, Turkey has been the victim of a number of small-scale bombings which are thought to be the handiwork of PKK-linked operatives. For example, police suspect Kurdish militants to be responsible for a bombing in a tourist area in Istanbul on July 23. The attack wounded two people at a popular cafe on the European side of the city. A Dutch citizen and a Turkish waiter were injured.
If Turkish authorities are indeed able to prove the groupís involvement, these attacks could signal a new round of deadly attacks on the part of the PKK. Though the organization is thought to be less powerful and influential than it once was, it retains the ability to sow terror throughout Turkey.