Turkish Troops Kill Two Kurdish Rebels in Southeast Anatolia
Turkish soldiers have killed two rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in a southeastern region close to the border with Iran and Iraq, security officials said Saturday.
The casualties came during a clash close to the town of Semdinli in Hakkari province, said a statement by authorities administering emergency rule in the city of Diyarbakir.
It did not mention any losses among Turkish troops.
The PKK took up arms against the Ankara government in 1984 in pursuit of Kurdish self-rule in Turkey's eastern and southeastern regions, which are mainly populated by Kurds.
But in September last year, the group declared that it was halting its armed campaign and withdrawing from Turkish territory to seek a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish conflict.
Since then, previously heavy fighting in the region, which has claimed some 36,500 lives, has scaled down considerably.
But the PKK truce, launched following peace calls from condemned rebel Abdullah Ocalan, was brushed aside by the Turkish army as a "ploy by bloody terrorists."
The head of Turkey's secret service said in comments to the press earlier in the week that there were around 4,500 armed PKK rebels abroad and some 500 in Turkey.
"As long as these forces remain, the PKK will continue to be a threat," the head of the National Intelligence Institution (MIT), Senkal Atasagun, said -- DIYARBAKIR (AFP)
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