The situation in east Turkey is tense. Kurdish fighters have recently shifted their activities to attacks on infrastructure projects. The Kurdish referendum on independence planned for 25 September in neighbouring Iraq has the potential to further escalate tensions in the Kurdish conflict.

Acts of Sabotage by Kurdish Fighters

After being put on the defensive, Kurdish fighters are increasingly diverting their attention to softer targets in order to harm private companies, in addition to attacking political targets. Most recently on 06 September, alleged Kurdish militants attacked a vehicle transporting employees of an energy provider in Hakkari Province. In August, construction workers were attacked on a road in Sirnak Province. Such incidents have repeatedly led to fatalities and injuries.

Referendum on Independence in Iraq

The referendum on independence in Iraqi Kurdistan also poses the risk that Turkish-Iraqi cooperation on border security may be abandoned. A border left unguarded due to inter-state tensions could cause a significant deterioration of the security situation in Turkey.

Impact

Civilians are regularly harmed in attacks by Kurdish insurgents on Turkish security forces. Such attacks have impacted on transport infrastructure in the past, for example on airports, and have also occurred in parts of east Turkey that have so far been less affected by combat operations. These developments can have a direct impact on business ventures, travellers and expatriates, particularly in east Turkey.