75 Kurdish rebels killed in southeast Turkey


Turkish soldiers block a street as Kurds demonstrate on September 3, 2012 in the center of Beytussebap, about 40 kms (25 miles) from the Iraqi border, in the southeastern province of Sirnak. Kurdish rebels wielding rocket launchers and machine-guns attacked late on September 2 a security complex in Beytussebap, triggering a firefight that left 30 people dead.



Turkish officials said 75 Kurdish rebels were killed in clashes with Turkish security forces in the last week, according to the Associated Press.

Four soldiers were also killed in the clashes near Turkey's border with Iraq.

Kurdish separatists also wounded five in an attack on a military convoy, said a Turkish regional authority, according to Reuters, though it remains unclear if it was the same attack in which the other four were killed.

The Turkish government said 115 Kurdish rebels were killed in the region last month, according to the AP. The PKK's stronghold is in the southeast, but they also maintain bases in northern Iraq. The PKK has been labeled a terrorist organization by both the United States and the European Union, in addition to Turkey.

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Reuters noted that past few months have seen the heaviest fighting since the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) began its armed bid for a separate Kurdish state. Reuters said the conflict has killed more than 40,000 people since 1984.

Meanwhile, The Committee to Protect Journalists accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of telling journalists to stop covering the conflict. On August 31, the prime minister told journalists during a live TV debate: "This [news about the conflict] must be ignored; there is no other way."

Erdoğan said the media coverage of a recent kidnapping of an opposition member of parliament by the PKK served as a propaganda platform for the PKK, according to the CPJ. "What are they [Turkish media] doing?... The most important target of terrorism is propaganda. [Terrorism] gets it done for free here. On whose side will the media be?"

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