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 249 Turkish soldiers, 24 PKK rebels killed in June: PKK statement

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249 Turkish soldiers, 24 PKK rebels killed in June: PKK statement  5.7.2012  

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.
July 5, 2012

QANDIL MOUNTAINS, Turkey-Iraqi Kurdistan frontier, — Confrontations between the fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Turkish army in June claimed the lives of 249 soldiers and 24 guerrillas, said a statement by PKK.

The statement was issued by the press and media center of People's Defense Forces (HGP, the military wing of the PKK) which was published by Firat news agency, linked with the Kurdish organization.

The statement said that in the past month the Turkish army conducted 53 ground attacks, 16 air strikes, 8 cobra strikes, and 24 cannon attacks. There were also 44 confrontations between the PKK and army.

As a result of 36 operations conducted by guerrillas in the meantime, 249 soldiers and a policeman were killed and 160 more soldiers were wounded.

24 PKK HGP guerrillas also died in the clashes.

The fighters also managed to shoot down five Sikorski helicopters in June.

HGP statement said for the Turkish government military operation has become the solution for the Kurdish issue.

It said while in June the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) asserted strongly that it is setting the stage for solving the Kurdish issue, the statistics about the operations, force deployment and confrontations in June showed the "truth behind this propaganda."

June was filled up more with the slogans "the solution is near" and AKP will find the solution, HGP statement said, while it called the attention to the fact that the Turkish army conducted more operations in June than the past six months.

The statement also referred to a "change in tactics" of PKK fighters. It said the PKK fighters who had "limited" operations against Turkish army, conducted more operations with higher morale in June.

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. 

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