The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is accused of being behind a series of incidents leading to fatalities this week in eastern and southeastern Turkey. Two Turkish soldiers died following clashes with militants in the Kurdish southeast, authorities reported on Thursday, June 22. Additionally, a village guard was killed in the southeastern province of Siirt in overnight clashes with PKK militants. The PKK is also accused of abducting and killing a teacher in the eastern province of Tunceli, reported on June 22.
The PKK was formed in the late 1970s and launched an armed struggle against the Turkish government in 1984, calling for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey. Since then, more than 40,000 people have died during the conflict with the Turkish government, which reached a peak in the mid-1990s. Although a ceasefire was established in March 2013, it fell apart in July 2015 when Ankara launched air strikes against PKK camps in northern Iraq. The PKK is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union, and the United States. Additionally, the security situation in Turkey remains generally tense amid a national state of emergency that was declared by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 20, 2016, following an attempted coup d’état by members of the armed forces.
Due to the Turkish government's ongoing conflicts with the PKK as well as the Islamic State (IS), most Western governments advise against all travel to the city of Diyarbakır and areas along the Syrian and Iraqi borders, as well as nonessential travel to the provinces of Şırnak, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Mardin, Şanlıurfa, Kilis, Hatay, Siirt, Tunceli, and Hakkâri. The threat of terrorism remains present throughout Turkey, remain vigilant, report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities, and all potential protests.
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