Kurdish PKK rebels stormed a Turkish army
post on the Iraq border, 20 killed
August 5, 2012
Heavy fights between PKK and Turkish army in
Semdinli, Turkey Kurdistan. Photo: AA.
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: HPG
DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish
region of Turkey,— Kurdish rebels stormed a Turkish
army post on the Iraq border Sunday, triggering
fighting that killed 20 people in the latest clash
since Ankara launched a major offensive against the
Six soldiers, two village guards and 12 Kurdish
rebels were killed following the assault on an army
post in a village in the Kurdish southeastern
province of Hakkari, the local governor's office
said in a statement.
Another 15 soldiers, one village guard and five
civilians were wounded, according to the statement
cited by the Anatolia news agency.
The rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
launched simultaneous assaults on three border posts
but the casualties occurred at a post in the village
of Gecimli village, the private TV television
It was the deadliest clash since June when fighting
between Turkish soldiers and Kurdish rebels left 28
people dead following a similar attack on an army
post in the same region.
Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said after
Sunday's attack that Turkey's fight against
"terrorism" would continue.
A series of similar assaults against troops in the
Kurdish-dominated southeast prompted the army to
launch an all-out offensive against PKK bases in the
area last month.
The Turkish ground and air operation, one of the
biggest in years, is focused on the town of Semdinli,
in Hakkari province, in Turkey's Kurdish region and
NTV television said about 2,000 troops are involved.
"A serious and strong operation is under way in
Semdinli," Atalay said last week.
The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara, 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.
Turkey's latest offensive against the PKK comes as
Kurds in northern Syria are reported to have taken
control of some regions as fighting escalates in the
uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused
Damascus of allowing Kurdish rebels a free hand in
the north of the country and warned that Ankara
would not hesitate to strike "terrorists".
Ankara claims some of the Kurdish rebels in Syria
were forced to move there from hideouts in
mountainous zones of northern Iraq after the Turkish
army carried out several air strikes in the area.
The reported control of Syrian Kurdistan (northern
Syria) by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the
PKK's Syrian ally, has pushed Ankara to take
diplomatic and military steps to neutralise what it
sees as any potential threat.
Turkey has massed a convoy of tanks, weapons and
ground-to-air missile batteries on the border with
Syria and staged military drills, which have been
seen by the media as a show of force against
Ties between one-time allies Ankara and Damascus
have soured since Assad's regime launched a brutal
crackdown on dissent in March last year.
Relations hit an all-time low after a Turkish
fighter jet was brought down by Syrian fire in June,
killing its two pilots and leading Ankara to brand
Damascus a "hostile" opponent.
Damascus counters Turkish accusations with claims
that Ankara is supporting "terrorists" to bring down
the Syrian regime down, referring to the Free Syrian
Army of defecting soldiers which is based on Turkish
soil near the border.
Last week, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited
northern Iraq for talks with Kurdistan president
Massoud Barzani about the situation in northern
"The new Syria should be free of any terrorist and
extremist group or organisation," the two said in a
rare joint statement.
Although Turkey has built ties with the Kurdish
regional government in the north of Iraq, Ankara is
opposed to the idea of a separate Kurdish state.
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.
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous 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
The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional
self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.
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
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