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 Turkey says 115 Kurdish PKK rebels killed since July 23

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Turkey says 115 Kurdish PKK rebels killed since July 23  6.8.2012  





 
Turkey's interior minister Idris Naim Sahin. Photo: AFP


People stand near armoured vehicles of Turkish military stationed in front of Gecimli military outpost where Kurdish rebels attacked and killed 6 soldiers and 2 village guard on August 5, 2012 at Cukurca in Hakkari in the Turkey's Kurdish region aka Northern Kurdistan. 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: Getty Images  
August 6, 2012

ANKARA,— Turkey's interior minister said Sunday some 115 Kurdish rebels have been killed in a large-scale military offensive launched in the southeast of the country in July.

"We reached the conclusion that 115 members of the separatist terrorist organization have been rendered ineffective" since an offensive launched on July 23 to 24, Idris Naim Sahin was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency, referring to members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Idris Naim Sahin said the rebels were killed in an airpower-backed offensive near the Kurdish town of Semdinli, in Hakkari province in Turkey's Kurdish region [Northern Kurdistan] Kurdistan which sits on the border with Iraq's Kurdistan region. He said the offensive began on July 23.

His remarks came after Kurdish PKK rebels stormed a Turkish army post on the Iraq border Sunday, triggering fighting that killed 22 people.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack was a "dastardly assault" and issued a warning to countries allegedly backing the PKK, saying Turkey was "powerful enough to bring into line enemy-country (puppet masters) who hold the strings of the terror organization." He did not name any countries and it was not clear if the statement was aimed at Syria, in relation to the PKK presence there.

Erdogan has recently ruled out negotiating with the PKK to end the decades-old conflict and said state security forces would continue their struggle against the group until it lays down arms. The government has acknowledged that some officials have in the past held secret talks with the rebels that were subsequently abandoned.

A series of similar assaults against troops in the Kurdish-dominated southeast prompted the army to launch an all-out offensive against Kurdistan Workers' Party 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,www.ekurd.net and NTV television said about 2,000 Turkish troops are involved.

Sahin said the operation was still continuing, adding that security forces were taking measures to prevent Kurdish rebels from fleeing to northern Iraq where the organization is based.

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 rebels.

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 expectations.

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.

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, AFP | AP | ekurd.net | Agencies

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