Turkish police detain 20 suspected Kurdish militants | VailDaily.com

Turkish police detain 20 suspected Kurdish militants

ANKARA, Turkey – Police raided several homes around the Turkish capital and detained 20 suspected Kurdish militants alleged to be planning a series of firebomb attacks, the Anatolia news agency reported Tuesday.The raids follow some of the worst clashes between security forces and Kurdish protesters in decades, in which 16 civilians have been killed in the past week.Kurdish militants have stepped up their attacks on Turkish security forces, and several soldiers have been killed by land mines blamed on Kurdish rebels.A land mine in the southeastern province of Sirnak injured six children who were playing in a field, and two of them were said to be in serious condition, NTV television reported Tuesday.Land mine casualties are common in Turkey’s southeast, where Kurdish guerrillas fighting for autonomy commonly use them to attack military targets. Turkey says it has not planted mines since 1998.A militant Kurdish group called the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons claimed responsibility Monday for a bomb found by a bus driver after he had driven prosecutors and judges to work at two courts in Istanbul.In a message posted on its Web site, the group said the bomb was a warning to judges and prosecutors to stop acting against Kurdish militants. It said it would use such bombs in the future if “judicial terrorism” against Kurds continued.”Otherwise, our acts of warning will turn into bloody acts,” the group said.The group is believed to be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has been fighting for autonomy in the mountainous southeast since 1984 in a conflict that has killed 37,000 people. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.Anti-terrorism police carried out the raids in Ankara early Monday, Anatolia said. They seized drums filled with gasoline that they believe would have been used to make firebombs.Most of those detained were students, the report said.Meanwhile, a court in Istanbul began hearing a new lawsuit against the country’s best-known novelist, brought by a group of nationalists who accuse him of insulting the Turkish people.Orhan Pamuk, who gained international acclaim for books including “Snow,” and “My Name is Red,” is being sued by six nationalist lawyers who are seeking compensation from the writer.The case against him hinges on comments he made in a Swiss newspaper last year, stating that “30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it.”The remarks highlighted two of the most painful episodes in Turkish history: the massacre of Armenians during World War I – which Turkey insists was not a planned genocide – and the more recent fighting with Kurdish guerrillas.Also Tuesday, a court dropped charges against four Turkish journalists accused of insulting the country’s courts, but decided to proceed with the trial of a fifth journalist.All five were on trial for criticizing a court’s decision last year to shut down a conference about the mass killings of Armenians by Turks during the Ottoman Empire.The lawsuits are considered a test of Turkey’s readiness for membership in the European Union. Turkey, which embarked on membership talks in October, is under heavy pressure from the EU to improve its human rights situation.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism