4th November 2016
Terrorism: A suspected Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) car bomb has killed at least eight people (two police officers, five civilians, and the attacker) and injured more than 100 people in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey. The attack in Bağlar district of the city occurred around 0800LT on 04 November 2016 and is believed to have targeted an anti-terror police station. It is unclear if there is any relationship between this attack and the arrest of 11 lawmakers of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) overnight. The HDP draw much of their support from a pro-Kurdish rights and left-wing platform. They were arrested for ‘encouraging terrorism’. This is the most significant PKK terror attack in recent months, with the terror group generally engaged in small-scale skirmishes with Turkish security forces. The Turkish government has blocked social media outlets in response to the attacks.
This attack demonstrates that the PKK are still well-armed and able to carry out mass killings. This attack shows that their methods and targets remain unchanged. They continue to direct their attacks against the Turkish security forces and government, and continue to use car bombs (among other methods). Turkish security forces continue their large-scale security presence in the Kurdish-dominant southeast of Turkey and have even attacked Kurdish forces fighting against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The response (and precursor) to the attacks also shows the power that the government and security forces wield. They continue to crush the regime’s opponents and limit the democratic rights of the Turkish population. Given the present climate, this conflict seems likely to continue in the long term. There appears to be an obsession within government circles that Kurdish militants, and the Kurdish people, should be suppressed as the ultimate priority, ahead of the Islamic State terror group. Similar attacks should be expected in the future.
|Intrinsic Security Advice:|
|Risk Ratings:||Turkey: High –||Terrorism: Severe –|
|This attack does not change the Intrinsic risk rating for Turkey, for the Kurdish region, or for terrorism in the country. The terrorist threat remains severe in the southeast (and high countrywide) and the security rating remains high. This attack demonstrates how difficult it is to prevent or predict terror attacks. The number of deaths and injuries demonstrates how devestatingly effective attacks of this kind can be. In the Kurdish region in particular, it is advisable to avoid areas with significant security or political installations as the PKK generally target such areas.
For travel to most areas of Turkey (such as Istanbul) Intrinsic would advise that travellers employ a minimum of a security-trained driver for all journeys. For the Kurdish region, Intrinsic would advise that travellers employ armed guards and armoured vehicles for all travel.