Kurdish rebels have killed several Turkish soldiers and others wounded in a major attack in the south-eastern province of Hakkari.
According to a military official, the roadside bombs were detonated as two armored vehicles packed with soldiers were passing in the village of Daglica, a known PKK stronghold. The government launched air strikes against Kurdish group positions in retaliation.
The PKK said it had carried out the attack, and that killed 15 soldiers, but there has been no independent confirmation. The separatist organization described the assault as an “act of sabotage”, in a statement posted on the website of its military wing, the People’s Defense Forces.
President Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack on the military convoy and promised a “decisive” response. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu chaired an emergency meeting with officials including the army chief of staff and the spy chief but no official statement was made afterwards.
In recent months, the country has seen a surge in violence between the army and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after two and half years ceasefire collapsed. Since then, more than 60 members of the security forces have been killed.
The unrest comes at a tense time as the nation prepares to hold elections on November 1 following June 7 polls where Erdogan’s ruling AK party lost its overall majority. Earlier on Sunday, two police officers were killed in an attack in the Sur district of the southeastern city of Diyarbakir that was attributed to the PKK, security sources told the media.
The rebel group has been staging daily attacks against the Turkish armed forces as the military conducts an operation against the group in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq. The PKK initially took up arms three decades ago in search of an independent Kurdish state for Turkey’s Kurdish minority. IMAGE/todayszaman.com