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 Turkish jets strike Kurdish PKK rebels hideouts in Iraqi Kurdistan

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Turkish jets strike Kurdish PKK rebels hideouts in Iraqi Kurdistan  2.7.2012  
By staff writers

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. See Related Links
July 2, 2012

ANKARA, — Turkish warplanes have struck three locations in Iraq's Kurdistan region, believed to be Kurdish rebel hideouts, the army said in a statement Monday.

The army command said it hit "three shelters belonging to the separatist terrorist organisation," referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels, after exploratory flights located the hideouts on June 26-30.

The jets safely returned to their bases in Turkey, the statement added, without indicating when the air strike happened.

The strike is the third since a rebel attack on an army outpost near the Iraqi Kurdish border last month killed eight Turkish soldiers and wounded another 19. Local officials said around 20 rebels were killed in the attack.

The bombings of rebel bases come amid government efforts to soften tensions with the Kurdish minority, but a recent spike in PKK violence in the southeast may force the government to keep up military action, according to analysts.

The army statement came as an Istanbul court on Monday began a high-profile trial of some 200 suspects alleged to be linked to the Union of Kurdistan Communities, which authorities say is a wing of the PKK.

In October 2011, Turkey launched a major air and land offensive against the rebels in the southeast of the country and in neighbouring northern Iraq after 24 of its troops were killed in a night-time ambush by rebels.

In December 2011, Turkish air strikes killed 34 Kurdish civilians near the Iraqi Kurdistan border in an attack which the government said had been a military blunder, as commanders had mistaken them for PKK fighters.

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, 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 and 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: AFP | Reuters | | Agencies

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