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 Turkish fighter jets strike Iraqi Kurdistan, kill 25 Kurdish PKK rebels: army

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Turkish fighter jets strike Iraqi Kurdistan, kill 25 Kurdish PKK rebels: army  10.9.2012  







 
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: UKS  See Related Links
September 10, 2012

DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish region of Turkey,— Turkish air strikes killed 25 Kurdish rebels inside Iraq's Kurdistan region in the past few days as heavy army-rebel fighting inside Turkey killed at least 461 people this year, the army said Monday.

“An air operation has been staged against 14 targets of the separatist terrorist organization in the north of Iraq between September 5 and 9,” the chief of staff said in an online statement.

“According to initial data, 25 terrorists have been rendered ineffective,” a term often cited by the military for rebel deaths.

The army also added it destroyed dozens of rebel shelters, several ammunition depots and rebel anti-aircraft during the cross-border operation.

The statement came after an earlier announcement on casualty figures throughout the year inside the country.

According to the army figures, 461 people were killed this year in almost 1,000 operations in the country’s southeast, reported the private NTV news channel.

Some 373 Kurdish rebels were killed in operations carried out over five months, and 88 Turkish soldiers in the last nine months, the army was quoted as saying by the television network.

The army has staged 974 operations over the last six months to drive out the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which often stages ambushes against Turkish forces in the Kurdish-majority southeast, according to NTV.

The Turkish army-led operations were concentrated in four southeastern Kurdish cities of Hakkari, Tunceli, Siirt and Sirnak in northern Kurdistan, according to the army statement released by the channel.

The army launched a major offensive against Kurdish rebels on July 23 that it said early last month killed as many as 115 rebels.

The latest rebel attack in Sirnak which left 30 people dead prompted the army to carry out another large-scale operation in the region last week which local sources said was backed by air power as well as thousands of ground troops.

The Turkish F-16 jets also occasionally violated Iraqi Kurdish airspace to bomb rebel hideouts inside northern Iraq, they added.

In its earlier statement, the military establishment also rebuffed allegations that it was sending under-trained conscripts to strike the experienced rebels,www.ekurd.net saying 54 among the 88 dead soldiers were professional troops.

Turkish army operations target rebel hideouts inside the country as well as across the border with Iraq, where authorities claim rebels are holed up to launch strikes inside Turkey.

The PKK attacks traditionally increase in the summer, when snows melts in the mountainous zone between Iraq and Turkey, allowing easy passage in and outside the Turkish southeast.

Some government officials further believe Syria’s embattled regime is helping the PKK in retaliation for Turkey’s support for rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

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. More than 40,000 people have since been killed.

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 | ekurd.net | Agencies  

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