Kurdish militants kill four in southeast Turkey


Turkish war planes launched fresh strikes on Kurdish guerrilla positions in northern Iraq yesterday while in southeast Turkey, Kurdish militants killed two soldiers and two village militia members in separate weekend attacks.

The two soldiers were shot dead Saturday in Tunceli in the latest clash in a province where Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas have been active in recent months.

The soldiers came under fire while patrolling in the rural Geyiksuyu area, state-run Anatolian news agency reported, quoting a statement by the provincial governor’s office.

The two militia men were shot dead yesterday morning, according to security officials. They had been on patrol in the mountainous southeast province of Hakkari, which borders Iraq.

Village militia are often recruited from shepherds to guard the remote settlements.

Four labourers were wounded Sunday in a grenade blast while working on a construction site next to a police station in the province.

Turkish war planes later bombed PKK targets across the border in the mountains of northern Iraq, security officials said, in the latest in a series of strikes launched after PKK fighters killed more than 40 security personnel in July.

Between 145 to 160 militants have been killed in air and artillery strikes on PKK bases in northern Iraq in August, Turkey’s armed forces said.

The strikes have fuelled tensions between Turkey and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and is now listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and European Union. More than 40,000 people have died in the separatist insurgency.

Saturday Turkey’s south eastern neighbour Iran said its troops had killed or wounded 30 members of the PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan), an offshoot of the PKK.

The PKK has said it believes Turkey and Iran are coordinating attacks in the region and says it will join forces with the PJAK to counter the assaults.