Turkish terrorists plot more political violence
By Sam Cohen, Special to The Christian Science Monitor Istanbul
Turkey's terrorists are starting to regroup and reorganize after the initial shock of the military coup of Sept. 12. The murder of an Army captain in Adana, southern Turkey, and of a police officer in Istanbul, are regarded as the first signs of a renewal of the political violence that had taken an average of 16 lives a day here in the weeks leading up to the military takeover.
Similarly, the leftist terrorist organization Dev-Sol (revolutionary left, of pro-Moscow tendency) warned in telephone calls made to some local newspapers that "retaliatory action against the military takeover will start within a few days." This group has been responsible for much of the political violence in major urban centers in the last few months.
Analysts here think that the terrorists' aim in their new campaign is to force the Army into armed clashes and repression, thus undermining the image of the armed forces. (The latter have always been respected by the Turkish people.) The idea would be to provoke the public into what the terrorists would describe as a popular movement against "fascist" rulers.
At present the Army keeps all the country, including the so-called liberated areas, under its control. And the prospect of a restoration of law and order is generally welcomed by the people.
But the fear is that the resurgence of terrorism would oblige the Army to take harsher action, which might affect its popularity at home and provoke sharp criticism in the West.
Said one Western observer: "The terrorists will do anything to force the gentle generals to take off their velvet gloves and use their iron fists. This is going to be a difficult choice for the new military rulers."
Some terrorists are thought to have been detained in the numerous raids made by troops in their house-to-house searches and cleanup operations throughout the country in the last few days. But despite all the efforts of the military, many terrorists are said to have managed to flee and take refuge in new hideouts.
Surprisingly, a clandestine radio station started test broadcasts this week for the first time, but it was discovered by the security forces. All indications are that the terrorists (particularly the leftists) are preparing to go into action again. For the time being, the rightists are inactive, probably under orders from their leaders to wait and see.