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PKK's IED attacks catch Turkish military off guard

The majority of Turkish security forces killed fighting the Kurdistan Workers Party since early July have died in attacks using improvised explosive devices, a tactic the Turkish military had not anticipated.

On July 7, Turkey was plunged into a spiral of violence that takes a turn for the worse with each passing day. With two major incidents Sept. 6 and Sept. 8, Turkey was introduced to the destructive potential of roadside improvised explosive devices (IED).

The first attack occurred in southeastern Turkey, in Daglica, a rural area of Yuksekova district in Hakkari province, killing 16 soldiers, including the newly assigned battalion commander, a lieutenant colonel. Situated along the Iraq-Turkey border, the mountainous Daglica region, with its rough terrain and adverse weather conditions, is the main point of entry into Turkey for Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters from camps at Avashin-Basyan, Hakurk and Qandil, in northern Iraq. This is why Daglica has been a target of the PKK’s most blood-soaked attacks. In October 2007, after a PKK operation at Daglica, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) launched airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, and after four months of bombing, staged a short, cross-border ground operation against the same targets, in February 2008.

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