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Kurdish battles (October 2007)

Turkish military helicopter
Turkish military helicopter

In October 2007, a series of terrorist attacks in the South East sent political tensions in Turkey to a dangerous level, dominating the political agenda and the news headlines.

On 7 October, 13 Turkish soldiers were killed, including 1 officer, in Sirnak province, after Turkish soldiers had shot dead a suspected PKK terrorist earlier in the day. On 21 October, 12 Turkish soldiers were killed and 8 abducted during clashes in Hakkari. The 8 were later released.

Against this background, the Constitutional Court on 16 November 2007 granted a request by the Chief Prosecutor to examine whether to close the (pro-)Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), which had entered the parliament in the June 2007 elections and also had many elected local officials. Chief Public Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya had listed 221 party members, among them eight current parliamentarians, to be banned from politics for five years.

Tensions rose further. On the evening of 4 January 2008, five people were killed and 67 injured when an improvised explosive device exploded outside a school in the centre of Diyarbakir. Calls for a cross border operation into Iraqi territory grew more insistent. On 21 February 2008, the Turkish military began its operation against the PKK in Northern Iraq.

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