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 18 killed in clashes between Kurdish PKK rebels and Turkish forces

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18 killed in clashes between Kurdish PKK rebels and Turkish forces  19.6.2012  





The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds' identity in its constitution and of their language as a native language along with Turkish in the country's Kurdish areas, the party also demanded an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and constitution against Kurds, ranting them full political freedoms. Photo: flickr.com


A Turkish military helicopter flies over a mountain in Yemisli, Kurdish Hakkari province near the Iraq's Kurdistan border in southeastern Turkey (Turkey Kurdistan) Photo: Getty Images.
June 19, 2012

DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish region of Turkey, — Eight Turkish soldiers and 10 Kurdish PKK rebels were killed early Tuesday in clashes in southeast Turkey, the local governor's office said, cited by AFP.

Eight Turkish soldiers were killed and 16 wounded when members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attacked an army post at Yesiltas, near the border with Kurdistan region of Iraq and Iran, the governor's office said in a statement posted on its website.

"Operations are continuing in the region. According to preliminary findings, 10 terrorists were rendered ineffective," it added, a term often used by Turkish officials and security forces to refer to rebel deaths.

A group of Kurdish rebels probably crossed into Turkey from their bases in northern Iraq to attack the army post at Yesiltas, local security services said.

The NTV news channel said ground troops and combat helicopters were pursuing the assailants.

This mountainous region of Turkey is often the scene of violent clashes between security forces and Kurdish rebels, which escalate their attacks in the summer months.

Turkish warplanes generally bomb PKK hideouts in retaliations for attacks on troops.

The head of the armed forces General Necdet Ozel rushed to the region, along with the commanders of the ground forces and paramilitary gendarmerie, Turkish media reported.

As Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan seeks an end to the conflict, the leader of Turkey's opposition Republican People's Party said this month he was willing to work with the ruling AK Party to resolve the Kurdish problem.

Amid speculation about further moves to end the conflict, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc raised the possibility at the weekend of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan being put under house arrest if the militants were to lay down their weapons.

However other leading government figures, pointing to nationalist sensitivities over such a radical move,www.ekurd.net dismissed the idea, and Erdogan said it was only Arinc's personal view.

Concerns about the PKK insurgency have been exacerbated by the conflict in Syrian Kurdistan, which also has a Kurdish minority.

The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem, Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara and U.S. The PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

Copyright © respective author or news agency, AFP | Reuters | ekurd.net | agencies  

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