Two recent bombing attacks that killed 60 people in Turkey were part of a long chain of violence. In 2016, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and its affiliate, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), carried out 20 bombing attacks in 12 towns, killing 225 people and seriously wounding 1,022. Clashes by the Kurds in Turkey were only one side of the coin. According to official figures, 9,500 PKK militants have been killed since July 20, 2015. In the same period, more than 10,500 Kurds were detained, while 843 security personnel and 335 civilians were killed in PKK attacks.
In the 26 years of PKK operations, from 1984 to 2010, security forces have killed about 30,000 PKK militants. Turkey’s Kurds have seen the bloodiest phase of clashes in the last 1½ years. This period has also been the most pressure the PKK has come under within Turkey’s borders. In addition to the serious casualties it suffered, the organization lost its domination of towns in the southeast, while the state targeted and eliminated PKK camps and bases it had not been able to reach in rural terrain for many years. Parallel to the military pressure, the government has severely restricted the Kurdish movement’s political and democratic spheres. Any kind of civilian and political contact with the Kurdish movement has been instantly criminalized.