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 Two Turkish soldiers killed in PKK clashes, locals flee

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Two Turkish soldiers killed in PKK clashes, locals flee  30.7.2012  

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. Photo: HPG
July 30, 2012

DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish region of Turkey, — Kurdish PKK rebels killed two Turkish soldiers in clashes in the country's southeast and hundreds of villagers have fled the fighting, adding to Ankara's concerns over gains by Kurdish groups in neighbouring Syrian Kurdistan, Reuters reported.

The government of the Kurdish Hakkari province, near Turkey's borders with Iraqi Kurdistan region and Iranian Kurdistan, said the two soldiers were killed and 10 others wounded during fighting that broke out there on Sunday.

Fighting, including bombardment with helicopters and war planes, was still underway on the southern fringe of the Kurdish town of Semdinli, town mayor Sedat Tore said.

He said six hamlets had been evacuated and up to 1,000 people had fled.

The province is the scene of recurring fighting between Turkish forces and fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Syrian opposition forces say President Bashar al-Assad's forces last week quit areas further west on the Turkish-Syrian border, now reportedly controlled by members of a PKK-aligned Syrian Kurdish group.

The collapse of Syria's state security presence in a region populated largely by Kurds has stirred Turkish anxieties about the potential for rekindled separatist sentiment in its borders.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said last week that Turkey could intervene in Syria in response to any attack or potential threat deemed to emanate from there.

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.

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, Reuters | | Agencies


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