Kurdish militants threaten to attack Turkey dams

Istanbul (AFP) - A Kurdish militant group on Sunday threatened to stage guerrilla attacks on hydroelectric dams being built in southeastern Turkey, accusing the government of violating a fragile ceasefire.

The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) said in a statement quoted by the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency that the building of the dams was aimed at displacing people and helping the Turkish military rather than creating energy.

Turkish forces and the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have largely observed a ceasefire since 2013 but tensions have flared again in recent months as a final deal remains elusive.

The KCK -- considered the urban wing of the PKK -- said it would use all means, including guerrilla attacks, to prevent the construction of dams.

"From now on, all the dams and vehicles used in the construction will be targeted by our guerrilla forces," the KCK said, urging contractors involved in new projects to leave the areas.

The public "should know that our guerrilla forces will use their right of resistance against construction of dams and outposts for military purposes," the statement added.

The KCK said that while it had demonstrated great responsibility in observing the ceasefire, the Turkish state had failed to observe the conditions of the truce.

It said there was no need to build additional hydroelectric dams in the region. Turkey argues the projects are needed to improve its energy self-sufficiency.

Its statement meanwhile coincided with a flare-up of sporadic violence blamed on the PKK in eastern Turkey.

One 65-year-old man was killed and two others were wounded in the northeastern Ardahan province when their vehicle apparently was caught in the crossfire of an armed clash between the army and PKK militants, the Dogan news agency said.

In the southeastern province of Siirt, four road-making vehicles were destroyed after being set on fire by PKK militants, the official Anatolia news agency said.

Meanwhile, Anatolia also reported that four suspected PKK members had been arrested in the eastern province of Agri and a large number of explosives were confiscated including 77 Molotov cocktails.

Kurds, widely seen as the world's largest group of stateless people, are Turkey's largest minority and the main group in the southeast of the country.

The PKK waged a decades-long insurgency for self-rule that claimed tens of thousands of lives but declared a truce in 2013 after the government opened secret peace negotiations with its jailed chief Abdullah Ocalan.

However Kurds have become increasingly frustrated with the government's policy on Syria, as Ankara refuses to support the Kurdish groups fighting Islamic State (IS) jihadists inside Syria.

Turkey has made clear it is vehemently opposed to the creation of any autonomous region in Kurdish-populated northern Syria -- known as Rojava to Kurds --- along the lines of the one in Iraq.

The tensions come as the main pro-Kurdish party in Turkey -- the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) -- scored a breakthrough in June elections to take 80 seats in parliament.