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 Turkey says 79 dead in the latest operation against Kurd PKK rebels, 16 Turkish soldiers killed

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Turkey says 79 dead in the latest operation against Kurd PKK rebels, 16 Turkish soldiers killed  14.9.2012  
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. Photo:
September 14, 2012

ANKARA,— Seventy-five rebels and four soldiers have been killed over the past week in Turkey's latest operation against Kurdish separatists in the Turkey's Kurdish region (northern Kurdistan) in the southeast, officials said Friday.

Four Turkish soldiers have been killed and 75 Kurdish rebels  from the The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have been "rendered ineffective" in the operation launched on September 8 in the rebel strongholds near the Iraqi Kurdistan border, the local governor's office told the Anatolia news agency.

Meanwhile the PKK rebel group announced on Wednesday that it’s militants had killed 16 Turkish soldiers in clashes with the Turkish military on Tuesday.

A statement released by the People’s Defense Forces (HPG), which is the military wing of the PKK, said the PKK rebels had clashed with the Turkish forces on Tuesday twice in the district of Semzinan.

“Our guerrilla forces launched an attack on four sides on a 100-soldier strong enemy unit that was trying to control the Evliya strait in Semzinan district. As a result, 14 soldiers were killed from the occupying Turkish army” the statement read.

The statement also said that two PKK rebels were killed in the clash whose identifies “will be disclosed to our people and the public opinion… as soon as we get the details”

The same day, “PKK guerrillas launched an attack” on Turkish troops in Semzian district and killed two soldiers, according to the statement.

The operation has been concentrated in the Semdinli district and has included nearly 5,000 ground troops backed by air power, according to the army.

The operation follows a Turkish airstrike inside northern Iraq between September 5 and 9, which killed 25 rebels and destroyed rebel ammunition in mountain hideouts, according to the Turkish army.

Last week, the army announced that it has staged 974 operations over the last six months to drive out the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), during which close to 500 people, most of them Kurdish rebels, were killed.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) said in its Tuesday report that the casualties of the fighting between the PKK and the Turkish military was at its record high in 14 years with about 800 killed on both sides.

The ICG report said about 200 Turkish troops and security personnel had been killed, in addition to 85 civilians and some 500 PKK militants in the time period. The ICG group uses statistics form Turkish sources.

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. More than 40,000 people have since been killed.

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.

Sources: AFP | | | Agencies

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