Turkey’s tourism industry is on alert following a warning from a Kurdish separatist group that it plans a wave of violence following the collapse of a year-long cease-fire.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) said it will target major Turkish cities, including those popular with tourists and businessmen, which have occasionally been hit by bombings in the last decade.
This include a triple-bombing strike in the popular resort of Marmaris in 2006, while a year later a suicide bomber struck a popular shopping street in the capital, Ankara.
Murat Karayilan, a senior PKK commander, said the organisation would soon declare “democratic autonomy” in Kurdish regions of south-east Turkey. “If Turkey does not accept this, it is their problem,” he said.
The war between the Turkish government and the PKK lasted 26 years and claimed 40,000 lives. But the breakdown of talks and a year-long ceasefire spells an uncertain period for the nation.
Tens of thousands of Kurds have been arrested under Turkey’s harsh anti-terror laws, including 1,600 Kurdish politicians and 4,000 children.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office last night said they advised “against all but essential travel” to the south east of Turkey due to the “high threat from terrorism” – although this inland region is well away from the country’s tourist hotspots on the coast.