Four Kurdish PKK leaders killed in blast in Iraqi
ISTANBUL, -- Four leading members of the
Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
were killed in an explosion at their camp in border
region of Kurdistan (northern Iraq), Turkish private
broadcaster CNN Turk reported on Friday.
The broadcaster said the explosion occurred in the
Kandil mountains. No further details were
Turkey has threatened to carry out a military
incursion into neighbouring Kurdistan (northern
Iraq) to crush thousands of PKK rebels they believe
use the mountainous region as a base.
Ankara has raised troop levels in the restive
southeast of Turkey to more than 200,000, with many
near the Iraq border, senior security sources say,
as part of a crackdown on rebels.
The AK Party government, which was re-elected in a
parliamentary election on Sunday, has resisted calls
from the army to authorise a cross-border operation,
while refusing to rule one out.
Meanwhile, in Diarbakir a Turkish soldier was killed
overnight in a clash with Kurdish guerrillas in
northeast Turkey, security officials said on Friday.
The rebels opened fire on troops during a security
operation in Giresun province, near the Black Sea,
well to the north of the region where clashes
usually occur between the rebels and troops, they
The United States, Turkey's NATO ally, has urged
Ankara not to go into relatively stable Kurdistan
Attacks on Turkish soldiers and civilians have
escalated in recent months and a limited number of
troops have crossed the border in so-called "hot
pursuit" operations against rebels, according to
Officials in Kurdistan autonomous region (northern
Iraq) have accused Turkey's army of shelling rebel
targets inside the border.
The PKK launched its armed campaign for an ethnic
homeland in southeast Turkey in 1984 and Ankara
blames it for more than 37,000 deaths since then.
** The use of the term "Kurdistan" is vigorously
rejected due to its alleged political implications
by the Republic of Turkey, which does not recognize
the existence of a "Turkish Kurdistan" Southeast
Kurds are not recognized as an official minority in
Turkey and are denied rights granted to other
minority groups. Under EU pressure, Turkey recently
granted Kurds limited rights for broadcasts and
education in the Kurdish language, but critics say
the measures do not go far enough.
Others estimate over 40 million Kurds live in
Big Kurdistan (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Armenia),
which covers an area as big as France, about half of
all Kurds which estimate to 20 million live in
Turkey is home to over 25 million ethnic Kurds, some
of whom openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK for a
Kurdish homeland in the country's mainly Kurdish
southeast of Turkey.
Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed
severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish language,
prohibiting the language in education and broadcast
The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized
in Turkey, and use of the Kurdish letters X, W, Q
which do not exist in the Turkish
alphabet has led to judicial persecution in 2000 and
The Kurdish flag flown officially in Iraqi Kurdistan
but unofficially flown by Kurds in Armenia. The flag
is banned in Iran, Syria, and Turkey where flying it
is a criminal offence"
North Kurdistan ( Kurdistan-Turkey)
does not take credit for and is not responsible for the content of news
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