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 Turkish warplanes bomb Kurdish PKK rebel bases in Iraqi Kurdistan

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Turkish warplanes bomb Kurdish PKK rebel bases in Iraqi Kurdistan  19.10.2011  

October 19, 2011

ANKARA, — Turkish planes on Wednesday bombed Kurdish rebel bases in Kurdistan region in Iraq's north in retaliation for attacks that killed 26 Turkish soldiers, security sources said.

The air raids targeted Qandil region, the main rear base of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, the sources said.

About 2,000 PKK rebels are holed up in northern Iraq where they infiltrate Turkish soil to launch attacks, according to Ankara.    
A few hundred Turkish soldiers crossed into Iraqi Kurdistan region to hunt down PKK rebels who killed 24 soldiers, Kurdish news agency Firatnews said.

Turkish air forces have bombed rebel bases in Iraqi Kurdistan several times in recent months, killing nearly 100 rebels, according to the Turkish general staff.

Since August 17, Turkish jets repeatedly carried out air strikes against the PKK separatist group's bases in Iraqi Kurdistan region, under justification of chasing elements of the anti-Ankara PKK, forcing large numbers of Kurdish citizens of those areas to desert their home villages, including an air raid that killed 7 Kurdish civilians in a village north of Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniyah city on August 21st.

The Turkish parliament earlier this month renewed its mandate for the government to conduct ground incursions into Iraq.

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, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish 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.

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. 

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