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 Turkish forces reportedly kill 15 Kurdish PKK rebels: officials

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Turkish forces reportedly kill 15 Kurdish PKK rebels: officials  19.10.2011  
By staff writers

October 19, 2011

DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish region of Turkey, — Turkish troops killed 15 Kurdish militants in clashes in southeast Turkey near the Iraqi Kurdistan border on Wednesday after attacks by the rebels which killed 26 soldiers, Turkish security officials in the Kurdish region told Reuters.

At least 100 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants were believed to have taken part in the attacks, which targeted seven locations, security sources said.

Ankara launched a response to the attacks on the ground and in the air. Several hundred Turkish soldiers have crossed into Iraqi Kurdistan region to hunt down PKK rebels, Kurdish news agency Firatnews said.

"Turkish soldiers from two separate points in Cukurca         

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.
town crossed into south Kurdistan to follow (rebels)," said Firat news agency, which is known as a mouthpiece of the PKK.

"Turkish ground forces are attempting to cross the Iraqi border at Jeli, in the Hakkari region" of southeast Turkey, Dozdar Hammo, a PKK spokesman, told AFP.

Turkish air force planes also bombed Kurdish rebel bases in Iraqi Kurdistan in retaliation for the attacks, security sources said. The air raids targeted Qandil region, the main rear base of the PKK, they added.

Clashes between the PKK and the army have escalated since summer.

Turkey was shelling northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region on Tuesday, a Kurdish rebel spokesman said, in the first report of Turkish bombardment in the area in more than two weeks.

Since August 17, Turkish jets repeatedly carried out air strikes against the Kurdish 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.

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. 

Sources: Reuters | AFP | | ANF | Agencies

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