The explosions reportedly took place around the 15th kilometer of the Hakkari-Çukurca Highway on Wednesday morning. The deadly attack came following remarks by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said on Sunday that that push has come to shove for Turkey, indicating that the country will enter a new era in its fight against terror after Ramadan. Erdoğan later condemned Wednesday’s attack, saying: “We do not want the [democratization] process we have been pursuing so patiently in this holy month of Ramadan to be overshadowed by this incident. Unfortunately, terrorism has no mercy, no religion, no ethnicity or nationality and no homeland.”
President Abdullah Gül warned that the terrorist PKK would pay a heavy price for this attack, while also stressing that these attacks would not weaken the resolve of the Turkish state. “Everyone should realize that there is no power above the state. Whoever thinks the Turkish state will be forced to make concessions will be greatly mistaken,” he added. The Turkish president emphasized that the government should differentiate terrorists from regular citizens in its fight against the PKK. He also dismissed concerns that the state would delay implementing necessary anti-terror measures until after the end of Ramadan. “That statement was made to emphasize the viciousness of the terror organization even during this sacred month and expose the masks on the faces of terrorists. There is no waiting. Necessary measures are being taken, day and night,” Gül said.
On Wednesday Turkey launched a heavy air and artillery attack on terrorist PKK bases in neighboring northern Iraq in apparent retaliation for the terrorist attack in Hakkari. The Turkish General Staff said in a statement released early on Thursday that “a successful offensive was carried out against 60 PKK targets in the Kandil Mountains and in the Hakurk, Avaşin-Basyan, Zap and Metina regions by Turkish Air Forces warplanes.” The statement also said 168 targets in the Zap, Avaşin-Basyan and Hakurk regions were hit by heavy artillery fire prior to the air operation.
Aug. 13 Saturday
Six Turkish colonels were arrested and sent to jail early as part of an investigation into coup documents seized from the Gölcük Naval Command last year.
Three soldiers were killed by terrorists of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who fired on a military unit patrolling near the Beytüşşebap district of the southeastern province of Şırnak.
The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, announced that he is considering a visit to Somalia on Aug. 30, the first day of Eid al-Fitr, the traditional celebration that concludes the month-long fasting of Ramadan.
Aug. 14 Sunday
Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül was in Jeddah for talks with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, expected to focus on the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad. Gül held a bilateral meeting with King Abdullah.
A report prepared by the Turkish Football Federation’s (TFF) Ethics Committee on the allegations of match-fixing has found no concrete evidence regarding the allegations.
Turkey’s prime minister said İstanbul is bidding to host the 2020 Olympic Games. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan formally declared İstanbul’s bid. It is İstanbul’s fifth attempt to host the games, after failed bids in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. Erdoğan said, “We are excited because this time we will attain our goal.”
A news report suggesting that an Iranian official had said outlawed PKK senior leader Murat Karayılan had been captured by Iranian security forces appeared to be false news with both Turkish and Iranian officials denying it.
Aug. 15 Monday
The TFF announced that it will not impose any sanctions on football clubs involved in the match-fixing probe yet, saying the federation will wait until prosecutors in charge of the investigation present their indictment in the case.
Nearly 1,000 Orthodox Christians gathered for a historic service at Sümela Monastery in the Black Sea coastal province of Trabzon, marking the second religious ceremony held at the monastery in the history of the Turkish Republic.
War Academy Commander Gen. Bilgin Balanlı, who was arrested in May, appeared in court for the first hearing of the second Sledgehammer trial and became the first active duty general to appear before a judge in a coup case. Sledgehammer refers to a suspected coup plot believed to have been devised in 2003 with the aim of unseating the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government through violent means.
In an open challenge to the outlawed PKK, which has recently stepped up its acts of violence despite the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Erdoğan said that push has come to shove for Turkey, indicating that the country will enter a new era in the fight against terror after Ramadan.
The president of the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), Tekin Küçükali, announced his resignation from his post, citing health reasons.
Militants from the outlawed PKK attacked Turkish troops in the southern province of Osmaniye late on Monday, killing one soldier and injuring another.
Aug. 16 Tuesday
Twenty officials from a local pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) office in the southern province of Adana were detained on charges of disseminating propaganda of the outlawed PKK.
Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek held talks with opposition party leaders in regards to a new constitution and terrorist attacks that have killed dozens of soldiers in the last month.
Çiçek first visited the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party, the CHP, Kılıçdaroğlu, in his office in Parliament. Çiçek then spoke with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli.
Aug. 17 Wednesday
Eight soldiers and a village guard died and several other soldiers were injured when their convoy was hit by a series of blasts in the southeastern province of Hakkari. The explosions reportedly took place on the 15th kilometer of the Hakkari-Çukurca highway in the morning.
Three military officers, including Maj. Gen. Hıfzı Çubuklu, were arrested by a court due to their suspected involvement in a plan to destabilize the government via an Internet campaign. In addition to Çubuklu, suspects retired Col. Hulusi Gülbahar and Vice Adm. Mehmet Otuzbiroğlu were also arrested by the court.
In defiance and condemnation of the killing of eight soldiers in an ambush by the outlawed PKK, Erdoğan said Turkey has run out patience with terror despite their respect for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. “We have run out of the patience that we showed during Ramadan. We are at a point where words fail,” Erdoğan said following an urgent meeting held by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) regarding the famine and drought that has been sweeping Somalia in İstanbul.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Israel will not apologize for the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, news reports said, a development that is likely to dash hopes for a recovery in Turkish-Israeli ties in the foreseeable future. In a telephone conversation with Clinton, Netanyahu said Israel does not intend to adopt an outline to restore its relationship with Turkey, Israeli daily Haaretz reported. “We’re firm on not apologizing,” an Israeli official was separately quoted as saying by Reuters.
In a move that surprised many, Kılıçdaroğlu appointed his right-hand man, Gürsel Tekin, to a lower and less influential position on the party’s Central Executive Board (MYK).The CHP, which has been having continuous intra-party fights recently, announced changes to its top party administrative body, the MYK.
Turkish leaders once more made clear that it would be impossible for Turkish-Israeli ties to improve unless Israel apologizes and pays compensation for the killing of nine Turks aboard a Gaza-bound ship. Prime Minister Erdoğan, when asked by reporters about Israel’s comments, replied that “as long as Israel does not apologize, does not pay compensation and does not lift the embargo on Palestine, it is not possible for Turkey-Israeli ties to improve.” In separate remarks over the issue, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said that “Israel is facing a choice: deeper relations with Turkey or open a gap with the Turkish state that will not be overcome very easily.”
Aug. 18 Thursday
Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed stated that Erdoğan’s scheduled visit to the country on Friday was a historic gesture, as the Somali leader criticized Western countries for not assuming the role his country had expected from them. “Erdoğan’s visit not only displays the will and determination of the Turkish people and their government to stand side-by-side with their brothers in Somalia, but also underlines the [extent of the] problem and [demonstrates] how to assist Somalia,” Sheikh Ahmed said in an interview with the Anatolia news agency.
The National Security Council (MGK) convened amid increased terror attacks on Turkish soil by Kurdish militants and a violent Syrian crackdown on anti-government protestors in a number of cities. President Gül chaired the meeting at the Çankaya presidential palace. Members of the MGK were expected to assess PKK attacks, which have claimed the lives of dozens of soldiers and police officers in the last month. The tension with Syria over Damascus’ violent crackdown on anti-government protesters was also among the issues discussed at the MGK meeting.
Turkey launched a heavy air and artillery attack on terrorist PKK bases in neighboring northern Iraq in apparent retaliation for a terrorist attack in southeastern Turkey that killed a dozen soldiers the same day. The Turkish General Staff said in a statement released early on Thursday that “a successful offensive was carried out against 60 targets of the separatist terrorist organization in the Kandil Mountains and in the Hakurk, Avaşin-Basyan, Zap and Metina regions by Turkish Air Forces warplanes.”
One Turkish officer was killed and another was injured in a military helicopter crash in the southeastern province of Malatya.
Aug. 19 Friday
The coastal Black Sea province of Ordu was hit by torrential rains with most parts of the province being flooded. Many homes and workplaces were flooded in the province after rains, which began on Thursday night, continued on Friday. Municipal teams were mobilized to clear water from flooded homes and workplaces.
Turkey’s air force attacked 28 suspected terrorist PKK targets in northern Iraq, the Turkish military said, in a second day of cross-border strikes in retaliation for stepped up attacks by the PKK after a declaration by Prime Minister Erdoğan that he had lost patience with terrorists fighting in southeastern Turkey.
Erdoğan, accompanied by a large delegation that included four Cabinet ministers, visited Somalia to draw international attention to the famine-stricken Horn of Africa.
Counterterrorism units raided the offices of the Workers’ Party (İP) and the Ulusal Kanal TV station, which is known for its connections to the İP, reportedly as part of an investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network charged with plotting to overthrow the government.