Clashes with Kurdish militants kill 18 in southeast Turkey
Kurdish fighters - REUTERS
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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Eighteen people were killed in clashes in southeast Turkey on Wednesday, a day after the military launched air strikes there, as violence continued to rock the mainly Kurdish region days after a parliamentary election.

Two soldiers and 15 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants were killed fighting near the village of Daglica by the Iraqi border, which the military had targeted with air strikes the day before, the General Staff said on its website.

Turkish jets also pounded PKK targets in northern Iraq on Tuesday for a second day, the military also said.

The AK Party won back a parliamentary majority on Sunday in a major victory for President Tayyip Erdogan, who on Wednesday pledged to continue operations against the PKK until every last insurgent is “liquidated”. A two-year ceasefire that Erdogan had championed with the militants collapsed in July.

A 20-year-old man was shot dead in the town of Silvan, where authorities ordered a round-the-clock curfew in three neighborhoods for a second successive day, security officials said. Clashes between security forces and the PKK’s urban youth wing continued throughout the day in Silvan.

On Tuesday, one man was killed in Silvan and two others in Yuksekova.

The autonomy-seeking PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms in 1984. More than 40,000 people, mainly Kurdish militants, have died in the prolonged conflict.

Over the years, Erdogan has granted some political and cultural rights to Turkey’s estimated 15 million Kurds. But the government abandoned efforts for a negotiated settlement to the insurgency this year ahead of a June vote when the AKP lost its parliamentary majority.

 

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