Stratfor said on Monday that six Turkish troops have died in an attack by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on a Turkish naval base at Iskenderun, and that many Turks have noted that the oddly timed attack "coincided with the deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish-led aid flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip, which is fueling a number of conspiracy theories in Turkey that the two incidents were somehow connected. . . . STRATFOR sources have indicated that in the wake of this most recent attack, discussions are taking place within the Turkish military that the PKK attack could have been a signal by Israel to Turkey to stay out of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians in Gaza, or else risk Israel interfering in Turkey’s conflict with the PKK."[1]  --  Stratfor added:  "There are no indications that Israel was at all involved in the PKK attack, but the perception of an Israeli link spreading within Turkish military circles is significant in and of itself in monitoring the building distrust between Israel and Turkey -- Israel’s sole regional ally."  --  AP's report on the attack said that seven Turkish soldiers had also been wounded.[2]  --  The Journal of Turkish Weekly reported that the Turkish deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc said the number killed in the attack had risen to seven.[3]  --  In the same statement, Arinc condemned the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid convoy and said Turkey had decided to cancel three joint military exercises with Israel....

1.

Brief

PKK ATTACK IN TURKEY AT A CURIOUS TIME


Stratfor
May 31, 2010 -- 1829 GMT [1129 PDT]

http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20100531_brief_ppk_attack_turkey_curious_time


Speculation is rising in Turkey over additional motivations behind a deadly May 31 attack by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on a naval base in the southern Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, near the Syrian border.  The attack took place shortly after midnight, when PKK militants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a military vehicle carrying troops to guard duty inside the base.  Six troops were reported dead and three others are in critical condition. Though the PKK attack took place outside the group’s usual area of operations in southeast Turkey, PKK attacks against Turkish military targets have been picking up in recent weeks as the warmer weather has turned more conducive to fighting. The timing of the PKK attack coincided with the deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish-led aid flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip, which is fueling a number of conspiracy theories in Turkey that the two incidents were somehow connected. Turkish government and military forces regularly discuss in private their concerns over Israeli covert activity in northern Iraq, where the PKK is known to base its operations in the mountainous terrain. It should be noted, however, that Israel is well aware of the extreme sensitivities in Turkey toward the PKK issue, and would be unlikely to sponsor such attacks. Nonetheless, STRATFOR sources have indicated that in the wake of this most recent attack, discussions are taking place within the Turkish military that the PKK attack could have been a signal by Israel to Turkey to stay out of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians in Gaza, or else risk Israel interfering in Turkey’s conflict with the PKK. There are no indications that Israel was at all involved in the PKK attack, but the perception of an Israeli link spreading within Turkish military circles is significant in and of itself in monitoring the building distrust between Israel and Turkey -- Israel’s sole regional ally.

2.

KURDISH REBELS KILL 6 TURKISH SOLDIERS


Associated Press
May 31, 2010

Kurdish rebels kill 6 Turkish soldiers

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jaQi6OY_A1G1bCSOqVoDHeGWJqKQD9G1SSJ80


ANKARA, Turkey -- Kurdish rebels launched a rocket attack on a military vehicle near naval base in southern Turkey early Monday, killing six soldiers and wounding seven, the military said.

The rebels fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the vehicle carrying soldiers to a naval logistics base in the Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, officials said.

Three of the wounded were in serious condition, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said.

It was the largest attack by the rebels in recent weeks and came after imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan announced that he would abandon efforts to seek dialogue with Turkey starting Monday, accusing the government of ignoring his calls for peace.

Soldiers at the base responded with gunfire, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported, but it was not clear if any of the assailants were hurt.

The military launched a wider operation to catch the rebels, blocking escape routes near the base, the agency reported.

The rebels have been fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey since 1984. The clashes have killed tens of thousands of people since then.

Ocalan has been influential over his rebel command based in northern Iraq and unsuccessfully pressured Turkey to establish dialogue with his rebels, who are branded as terrorists by the U.S. and the European Union.

Ocalan said his rebel command would be in charge of the process, along with a pro-Kurdish political party that struggles for Kurdish rights.

The clashes picked up after Turkey's highest court shut down a pro-Kurdish party in December for links to Kurdish rebels, complicating the government's efforts to reconcile with the minority Kurds to end the 26-year-old conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.

3.

7 SOLDIERS KILLED IN ISKENDERUN, ARINC SAYS


Journal of Turkish Weekly

May 31, 2010

http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/102592/7-soldiers-killed-in-iskenderun-arinc-says.html

Acting Prime Minister, State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Monday seven soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack in southern town of Iskenderun on Sunday night.

In a press conference held in Ankara Monday, Arinc said that "we curse this inhumane terrorist attack.  Operations are underway to find the terrorists".

The death toll at Sunday's terrorist attack was earlier announced as six.

In reference to Israel's attack on ships carrying aid materials for Gaza, Arinc said that "on behalf of the Turkish nation and the Turkish government, we strongly curse Israel's attack.

"We have decided to cancel three military exercises with Israel. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cancelled his trip in Latin America and will arrive in Turkey around noon on Tuesday," Arinc said.