PKK attack kills three Turkish soldiers
Published Friday, May 4, 2012
Clashes erupted in southeastern Turkey on Friday, killing three soldiers and two Kurdish rebels in the restive region, local officials said.
The clash with members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) occurred after the rebels attacked a military patrol in a rural zone of Tunceli, local governor Mustafa Taskesen was quoted as saying by the Anatolia press agency.
In a separate attack blamed on Kurdish rebels, two policemen were wounded when gunmen sprayed their car with machine gun fire in Sirnak near the border with Iraq and Syria, they said.
The PKK took up arms in Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey in 1984 seeking autonomy from Ankara, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives.
Fighting between the two sides usually escalates in spring as snow melts along the mountainous Iraqi-Turkish border, enabling rebels holed up in rough terrain to launch attacks more easily.
Clashes have intensified in recent months, inflaming tensions between Turkey's Kurdish minority and the state, as well as raising concerns from human rights groups.
Among the most deadliest incidents was a large-scale PKK operation in October 2011 that killed 24 Turkish soldiers, while a Turkish airstrike in December massacred 35 Kurdish civilians, which Ankara excused as an error.
Turkey regularly launches air raids on northern Iraq, where it believes PKK bases are largely located.