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 Kurdish TAK group claims responsibility for Ankara car bomb attack

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Kurdish TAK group claims responsibility for Ankara car bomb attack  22.9.2011  
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Radical Kurd Group Says Ankara Attack 'Only a Beginning', and warned of "war everywhere"

September 22, 2011

ANKARA, — A radical Kurdish group claimed responsibility Thursday for a bomb attack which killed three people in the centre of the Turkish capital Ankara and threatened more.

In an email sent to the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) said it carried out Tuesday's attack and warned: "It is only a beginning."             

TAK (Teyr
ênbazên Azadîya Kurdistan) The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons
The group threatened to spread violence to urban areas, after a wave of deadly rebel attacks on army and police units in the southeast.

"Everywhere is a target," it said.

The TAK statement also pointed out that "in our war against the fascist AKP government we consider every place to be a legitimate target and in particular war will hit the metropolis". Firra News reported.

The bomb, which went off outside the administration offices of the capital, also injured at least 15 people.

TAK (Teyrênbazên Azadîya Kurdistan) is a shadowy group that upholds jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan as its "chairman" but says it is not linked to his Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has led a bloody 26-year campaign for self-rule in the Kurdish-majority southeast.

It's not entirely clear who the TAK are. Some observers believe it's little more than a front for the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), the Kurdish separatist group that fought the Turkish army for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey [Turkey-Kurdistan].

But others say there is strong evidence it is a splinter group led by commanders who have split from the PKK because of dissatisfaction with its tactics, along the lines of the Real IRA and the IRA.

The Falcons first appeared in 2004 - the same year the PKK renounced a unilateral ceasefire. The direct targeting of tourists would be a change in recent tactics for the PKK. Even in its heyday, much of the PKK's efforts were directed against the Turkish military - although there were attacks on civilians, including tourists.

Today the PKK is a shadow of its former self. The guerrilla army which fought for control of Kurdish  cities in south-eastern Turkey during the Nineties is largely gone, defeated by a combination of brutal tactics by the Turkish army,
www.ekurd.netand a dramatic coup when Turkey captured its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, in 1999, and paraded him before television cameras in chains.

After Ocalan called for a peaceful solution from the dock, during his trial by Turkey, the PKK declared a unilateral ceasefire. But it ended the ceasefire in 2004. Since then, the PKK has resumed fighting, mostly against the Turkish military. In the meantime, the Falcons have emerged with a series of attacks on civilians.

The PKK has said TAK is a splinter group outside its control.

In a statement carried by a website that has contacts with the PKK, the group denied any responsibility for a car bomb in Ankara on Tuesday.

In June 2010, TAK claimed responsibility for a roadside bomb that hit a bus carrying Turkish army personnel in Istanbul in June, killing five Turkish soldiers and a teenage girl.

In November 2010, TAK claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack in Istanbul, Taksim Square, targeting Turkish police that wounded 32 people, 15 Turkish police officers and 17 civilians.

In February 2006, six people were wounded, one seriously, after a bomb exploded at a supermarket in Istanbul. The TAK claimed responsibility for the blast and pledged more attacks.

In August 2006, three people were killed and 87 injured in a blast in Antalya, southern Turkey. The TAK claimed responsibility.

Kurdish rebels fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey have recently escalated their attacks on Turkish targets.

Three Turkish security officials were killed in two separate attacks in east and southeast Turkey, on Wednesday and Thursday.

The successive assaults come days after Turkey's government threatened to launch a ground assault on PKK camps across the border in northern Iraq.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

Sources: AFP | AP | | | Agencies

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