Turkish court arrests two paramilitary officers in bomb attack on a convicted Kurdish rebel

A Turkish court on Monday arrested two paramilitary officers on suspicion of involvement in a recent grenade attack on a convicted Kurdish rebel. The arrests increased suspicions that security forces may be attempting summary executions in their fight against Kurdish separatists.

There also have been allegations that security forces have engaged in violent operations to provoke a military response against the Kurds, such as the Nov. 20 grenade attack on a police station in Silopi that was initially blamed on Kurdish rebels.

Last week, however, two government-paid and armed village guards _ charged with protecting villages against the rebels _ were arrested in connection with that attack. In the case Monday, paramilitary officers Ali Kaya and Ozcan Ildeniz were sent to a prison in Van after nearly 10 hours of questioning by a prosecutor and by the court about the Nov. 9 grenade attack on a Kurdish rebel, the Anatolia news agency said.

The government has vowed to shed light on that attack in the southeastern town of Semdinli, which raised fears that security forces had attempted the kind of summary execution that was common in the fight against Kurdish rebels in the early 1990s. The Nov. 9 attack sparked days of rioting by Kurdish rebel sympathizers that left four people dead.

The Semdinli book store that was attacked is owned by Seferi Yilmaz, a former guerrilla who served 14 years in prison for participating in the group's first armed attack, in August 1984. After the Nov. 9 attack, Yilmaz and bystanders chased the suspected attacker, a former Kurdish rebel-turned-informant, to a car and captured him and two paramilitary police officers standing nearby.

The informant has already been arrested, along with another sergeant who opened fired on the crowd at the scene. Inside the car, allegedly owned by the paramilitary police, there were reportedly hand grenades similar to the one used in the attack, guns, plans of the shop and a list indicating which Kurdish clans were pro-state and which were not, the AP reported.

The Kurdistan Workers Party has been fighting the military for autonomy for Kurds in southeastern Turkey since 1984, and some 37,000 people have died. The group is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.


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