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Turkey’s Fight against Kurdish Militants Gets Bloody


At least 10 Turkish soldiers were killed and more than 70 were wounded in a rocket attack by Kurdish militants in Turkey’s eastern province of Bingol, government officials said, in the latest of a series of brazen attacks on Turkey’s security forces that underline how the region’s three-decade-old conflict is deepening.

A Turkish military convoy of some 200 soldiers, riding in three buses and accompanied by armored vehicles, was hit by rockets fired by members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, at around noon local time Tuesday, according to officials in Bingol governorate.

Ten soldiers were killed in the resulting explosion. Scores of wounded were ferried to nearby hospitals for treatment, some in critical condition, the officials said. Turkish television showed the smoldering carcass of a bus that had been mangled and charred by the strike.

Worse and worse. Americans are naturally paying more attention to the violence in the Middle East around our embassies and consulates. However, the most dangerous surge of violence in the region may not involve Arabs or Americans at all.

The escalation of the conflict between Kurdish guerrilla fighters and Turkish forces in eastern Turkey, coming after years in which the conflict seemed to be diminishing, is very serious. Butcher Assad of Syria seems to be supporting Kurdish militants in retaliation for Turkey’s support for the rebellion against his rule:

Turkish ministers have repeatedly linked this year’s dramatic upswing in PKK attacks to Turkey’s efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, alleging that Damascus is providing arms and logistical support to boost the rebels’ capabilities, a charge Syria’s government has denied.

In recent weeks, Ankara has reinforced its southern border with Syria’s predominantly Kurdish northeast and staged military exercises after Damascus appeared to cede control of swaths of that region to the Democratic Union Party of Syria, which Ankara alleges is closely linked to the PKK.

Assad is no doubt stirring the pot, but a match can’t start a fire without fuel. It seems clear that many Kurds in Turkey remain deeply alienated from the republic. That is not a good sign for the future of Turkish democracy.

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