Conflict & Justice

Kurdish rebels kill Turkish troops in restive southeast


A Kurdish man holds up a flag of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) during Noruz spring festival in the Lebanese capital Beirut on March 21, 2012.


Joseph Eid

At least eight Turkish soldiers have been killed in an ambush by Kurdish militants in the southeast of the country.

Security sources told Reuters news agency that rebels from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) had crossed into Turkey from northern Iraq to stage an attack on an army post in the town of Yuksekova in Hakkari province, before retreating back across the border. Fifteen soldiers were wounded in the ambush.

Turkish troops and military helicopters are said to be chasing the attackers. According to the Agence France Presse, local officials said 10 rebels had been “rendered ineffective,” a term often employed by security forces to indicate militant casualties.

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Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul condemned the “treacherous attack,” saying: “The terrorist organization is still carrying out its inhumane and bloody acts in an effort to sabotage the atmosphere to reinforce peace, reach a resolution, achieve the reign of peace and tranquillity, and put a stop to the pain and tears,” CNN reported.

According to the BBC, several thousand PKK militants are believed to be using northern Iraq as their base of operations. Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the group – which has been denounced by the US and the EU as a terrorist organization – began a violent campaign in the mid-1980s for an ethnic Kurdish homeland in Turkey’s south-east.

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