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TuAF F-16s diverted due to sabotaged Telekom wires

November 20, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Turkish F-16s returning from an operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were unable to land in Diyarbakir last week due to a lack of communication.

An investigation into events surrounding the outage of Türk Telekom fiber-optic telecommunication cables in Diyarbakir revealed that it is the result of a sabotage.

After a three-week pursuit the police apprehended 17 suspects, among whom were three members of the Turkish Telecommunication Workers Union (Türkiye Haber-Is) who had come from Batman to Diyarbakir for a demonstration.

The suspects revealed that the sabotage was aimed at the 2nd Tactical Air Force Command's communication lines.

It was discovered that the members of the sabotage team, which also included executives from Türkiye Haber-Is, cut the lines of the special network called TAFIKS that provides the communication for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

Because of the resulting communication gap the F-16s, which were
providing air support for the operation against the PKK, were unable to land at the Diyarbakir military airport. Instead, they were forced to touch down in Malatya and Adana instead.