18 killed in clashes in southeast Turkey
Kurdish rebels on Tuesday attacked Turkish military units in southeastern Turkey, sparking clashes in which 10 rebels and eights soldiers died, authorities said.world Updated: Jun 20, 2012 09:44 IST
Kurdish rebels on Tuesday attacked Turkish military units in southeastern Turkey, sparking clashes in which 10 rebels and eights soldiers died, authorities said.
The attack happened in Daglica area of Hakkari province, which borders northern Iraq's Kurdish areas.
Sixteen Turkish soldiers were also wounded in the attack, the governor's office in Hakkari said in a statement.
A similar rebel attack in the same area in late 2007, when 12 Turkish soldiers died, had triggered an eight-day incursion by the Turkish military into Iraq in February 2008.
Rebels use northern Iraq as a base from where to launch attacks on Turkish troops.
The rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, is fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey. Tens of thousands have died since it took up arms in 1984.
The attack came amid efforts by the government to try to reconcile with the Kurdish minority through granting more cultural rights.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently announced plans to introduce elective Kurdish lessons in schools, after allowing Kurdish language broadcasts on television.
Turkey refuses demands by Kurdish activists, rebels and politicians of full education in Kurdish, fearing that it could divide the country along ethnic lines. An estimated 20% of Turkey's 75 million are Kurds.