BATMAN, Turkey

At least 18 suspects were arrested in southeastern Turkey on Sunday as part of a probe into deadly terrorist incidents from 2014, according to security sources.

The suspects – including some public servants – were wanted over alleged involvement in the incidents under warrants issued by prosecutors in the southeastern province of Batman, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

In 2014, encouraged by developments in northern Syria, the terrorist group PKK adopted a new strategy in Turkey and sought to weaken the Turkish state by disrupting its unity in an effort to gain territory in line with its separatist agenda.

On Oct. 6-8, 2014, PKK ringleaders and their supporters incited armed violence across the country, instructing militants, terrorists, and ideological supporters to take to the streets and rebel against the Turkish state on the pretext of a Daesh/ISIS attack on the Syrian border city of Ayn al-Arab (Kobani).

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) – a party Turkey has said is linked to the terrorist PKK – also made a statement calling on people to take to the streets in protest.

The call to protest led to violent events in 35 provinces and 96 districts, causing the deaths of 37 citizens – including civilians distributing humanitarian aid during a Muslim holiday – and injuries to 761 people, including 326 law enforcement officers.

The violence triggered material losses totaling billions of Turkish liras (millions of dollars) as nearly 200 schools were burned down, 268 public buildings were destroyed, and 1,731 houses and workplaces were looted or damaged.

In the face of the violence, the Turkish state took immediate action to reestablish public order.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

*Writing and contributions by Merve Aydogan in Ankara.

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