The terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) raided an asphalting site that is run by the 11th Regional Directorate of Highways in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern province of Van, setting a number of vehicles on fire; 25 construction workers at the site are currently missing.
The highway construction, which is located near the Gürpınar district, was raided by PKK members at around 2:00 p.m. on Thursday. The assailants forced the construction workers to step out of the vehicles, before setting the vehicles ablaze. An employee called the 11th Regional Directorate of Highways to report the incident. Security forces have been dispatched to the neighborhood, while the 25 workers cannot be found.
In a separate incident, two sergeants were killed in a bomb attack carried out by the PKK in between the southeastern districts of Lice and Genç. According to reports, a handmade explosive that was planted on a road was detonated while an armored military vehicle passed by. A large scale operation has been launched to capture the assailants.
The PKK is designated as a “terrorist organization” by the United States (US) and the European Union (EU), as well as Turkey. The 32-year-old conflict, which has claimed more than 40,000 lives, halted in March 2013 as part of the settlement process initiated between the PKK and the Turkish government. However, the PKK ended the ceasefire in the summer of 2015.
There have been repeated clashes between security forces and PKK members since the cease-fire collapsed in July 2015. Nearly 200,000 locals in the Southeast have been forced to leave their homes due to fighting and curfews.
The Turkish General Staff recently released a statement, saying that a total of 1,000 members of the PKK were killed in the operations in the southeastern provinces of Şırnak and Mardin between March 14 and June 3.
The authorities have been imposing curfews in towns and districts to flush PKK militants from urban areas in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish Southeast since the collapse of the peace process.