Turkish security officials on Tuesday released documents that apparently point towards PKK's infiltration into southeastern municipalities of the country which aided the terrorist organisation in carrying out attacks in southeastern Turkey.
Turkey had earlier removed 28 mayors and appointed new trustees to oversee the said municipalities on Sunday.
The sacked mayors are accused of having links to the PKK and helping fuel protests in Turkey’s southeastern region.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking after Eid al-Azha prayers on Monday, said Ankara had proof that the mayors provided aid, support and funds to the PKK terrorists.
The released images purportedly shows how these municipalities worked hand in hand with the PKK, by hiring sympathisers and members of the organisation into key positions in the municipality and providing vehicles to be used in car and truck bombings.
On January 4, 2016, security forces, after receiving a tip, stopped a tractor belonging to Dargecit municipality in Turkey’s Mardin province, the document says.
"After conducting a search of the tractor, security personnel claimed the recovery of 7 RPG’s, 2 PK machine guns, 5 AK-47 machine guns, 1 Dragunov sniper rifle, 1 Zagros rifle, 1 Mp5 pistol, seven hand grenades, 24 anti-tank missiles, two radios and large amounts of ammunition."
Three suspects travelling in the tractor were detained and later arrested.
Between October 10 and 12, 2015, PKK used construction vehicles and a digger belonging to the Dargecit municipality to dig trenches, and erect barricades in some neighbourhoods and clashed with security forces, according to the documents.
In a terror attack on July 9, 2016, around 20 PKK terrorists were said to have attacked Cevizlik Gendarmerie Command in Artuklu, Mardin.
During an investigation, the truck with the plate number 47 AS 012 and belonging to the Mazidagi municipality was determined to have been bomb-laden and used in the attack.
Two soldiers and one civilian lost their lives in the attack and 38 others were injured, 14 of them being civilians.
Fifteen people were arrested following the attack in Artuklu and Mazidagi. Among them were Mardin Metropolitan Municipality Health Department Chief Huseyin Palay, Mardin Metropolitan Municipality Fumigation Unit Chief Cengiz Ozturk and Mazidagi Municipality Constabulary Chief Ismail Atli.
The dosument also mentions a call by a civilian to the police hotline in Mardin.
The caller said, “Municipality workers in Zeynelabidin neighbourhood are helping PKK terrorists erect barricades and block entrances to the neighbourhood by dumping debris using a truck belonging to the municipality. We as the residents of the neighbourhood are bothered by these events.”
A truck belonging to the Marsu-Mardin Water and Sewage Administration General Directorate, with the plate number 47 AL 764, was used for dumping gravel to block roads and prohibit security forces from entering the area, the released document attributed to an investigation conducted by the security forces.
Three suspects were detained during the investigation but were later released by the judicial authorities.
On February 19, 2016, police officers received a tip-off which said that armed men were using an earth digger to dig trenches around Ataturk street in Kale neighbourhood in Derik, Mardin. Terrorists used Rocket proppelled grenade to attack the security forces arriving at the scene and injured five police officers, the document says.
"The next day security forces spotted the same earth digger belonging to the Derik municipality near Ataturk middle school in Kale neighbourhood. The digger was rendered unusable in an armed intervention by the security forces to prevent it from digging trenches.
On June 13, 2016, police officers acting on a tip-off in Van’s Hacibekir neighbourhood, ordered a Toyota pickup truck, with the license plate 34 LC 4681, to stop.
Disobeying the order, occupants of the car opened fire at the police officers. In the clash two officers were injured, the driver of the car Naci Acar was wounded and captured. One female and two male passengers of the vehicle were killed in the encounter.
Upon searching the vehicle, police claimed the recovery of three hand grenades, two guns, four magazines and ammunition.
In the following investigation, it was revealed that the car belonged to Emin Acar and was being rented by the Vaski Municipality Water Department. It was also revealed that the wounded terrorist Naci Acar was his son and worked as a subcontracted driver for the Vaski Municipality Water Department.
In a search conducted at the residence the terrorists were using, one other suspect was captured wounded. Police also found 1 RPG, two hand grenades, three rocket ammunition, three rocket propelling cartridges, 1 AK-47 machine gun, six magazines, one assault vest, one radio and a large cache of ammunition.
According to another instance mentioned in the document, security officers on patrol duty in Van province became suspicious of a Citroen brand car with the license plate 13 KB 231, on September 1, 2015.
During the attempt to stop the car one suspect was able to escape, and two others were detained. Upon searching the vehicle, police officers found 3 AK-47 machine guns and one pistol, the documents futher said.
"A subsequent investigation revealed that the vehicle was registered to Fehmi Aydin who had leased the car to the Van Metropolitan Municipality since August 24, 2015."
The details of the documents could not be independently verified.
Author: Talha Emre Iren