Kurdish rebel attack renews tension

Four villagers were killed in an attack by Turkish Kurd rebels in the southeastern Turkish province of Bingol, according to officials.

    Bingol Governor Huseyin Cos said on Friday members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) raided the village of Yenikoy and took five people from their homes, four of whom were then killed.

     

    The raid late Thursday followed an attack on a government convoy in nearby Tunceli province on Tuesday which left two soldiers dead, officials said.

     

    There has been no independent confirmation of the operations but officials said they were the latest signs of a rise in

    rebel activity in the mainly Kurdish southeast after four years of relative calm.

     

    Turkish officials have warned in recent months hundreds of PKK fighters have slipped back into Turkey from camps in northern Iraq since the US war there.

     

    The PKK -

    now known as KADEK

    -
    has been struggling for an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey since 1984. But fighting subsided with the arrest of the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999.

     

    Ocalan

    urged his followers to forsake violence and instead seek cultural rights for Turkey's Kurds by political means.

     

    Ocalan case

     

    Kurds believe Ocalan's arrest
    was illegal

    Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence in Turkey for "separatist activities", has lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights on the "unlawfulness of his arrest and the conditions of his detention and trial".

     

    The court said on Friday it would re-examine that complaint and reassess a ruling made in March in which it upheld several complaints made by Ocalan concerning his treatment.

     

    In its ruling, the court said the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated on four points relating to Ocalan's detention and trial, but did not rule against the lawfulness of his arrest in Kenya.

     

    Ocalan was seized by a Turkish commando group in Kenya in February 1999, and sentenced to death by a Turkish military court later the same year. His sentence was commuted after Turkey abolished capital punishment.

      

    He is being held in an isolated prison on the island of Imrali.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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