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 Four killed in Turkish helicopter crash in Kurdish region

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Four killed in Turkish helicopter crash in Kurdish region  23.7.2012  

S-70 Sikorsky helicopter.
July 23, 2012

DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish region of Turkey, — A Turkish paramilitary helicopter crashed Sunday in the Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey (northern Kurdistan) where troops are fighting Kurdish PKK rebels, killing four security personnel on board, officials said. Eight others were injured.

The S-70 Sikorsky helicopter, belonging to Turkey's paramilitary police force, crashed while landing near an outpost in Hakkari province, close to the border with Iraq, the military said in a statement posted on its website. It was carrying four crew members and 11 security personnel.

The military said the helicopter experienced a loss of power and crashed. But Firat News, an agency that is close to the rebels, claimed the helicopter was downed by Kurd rebel fire.

In a PKK statement on Monday on the Turkish helicopter crash in Yüksekova town of Hakkari province on Sunday, the PKK reported and confirmed that the Skorsky type helicopter was shot down by PKK (HPG) guerrillas.  The statement said that eight Turkish soldiers died and seven others were wounded as a result of the action by guerrilla forces, AND news agency reported.

Clashes between Turkish soldiers and Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK guerrillas and military reinforcement transfer to the region are reported to be continuing.

On the other hand, one soldier died and 15 others were wounded as a result of an accidental hand grenade explosion in Yeşiltaş outpost of Hakkari on Sunday night. The wounded soldiers, reported to be seriously injured, have been sent to hospitals in Kurdish Van city.

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.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous 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.

The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.

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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