Turkey, PKK carry out retaliatory attacks | News | DW | 08.09.2015
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Turkey, PKK carry out retaliatory attacks

Reports from state-run media say jets have carried out airstrikes against Kurdish rebels in Turkey and northern Iraq, killing as many as 40 militants. A suspected PKK attack on minibus kills 14 police officers.

Dozens of Turkish warplanes struck militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq overnight Tuesday, killing scores of fighters.

Meanwhile, a Tuesday morning bomb attack on a minibus in the eastern province of Igdir near the border with Azerbaijan has killed at least 14 police officers, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The overnight air raids came after at least 16 Turkish soldiers were killed in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of the country on Sunday in an attack blamed on the PKK. Some 35 F-16 jets and 18 F-4 phantoms took part in the heavy raids on a score of PKK targets, according to Anadolu.

PKK to be 'wiped out'

Türkei - Premierminister Ahmet Davutoglu

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has vowed no compromise with Kurdish insurgents demanding language rights and autonomy

The Turkish government has vowed to eradicate PKK rebels after Sunday's attack -- which was by far the deadliest in the latest flare up of the PKK's three-decade-long armed struggle against the Turkish state.

"These terrorists must be wiped out from the mountains; whatever happens they must be wiped out," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in televised remarks Monday. "The mountains of this country must not be handed over to terrorists."

The PKK, which enjoys popular support in Turkey's southeast, is designated a "terrorist organization" by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

A ceasefire from 2013 collapsed this summer after the Turkish government resumed air attacks on militants camps based in the mountainous border region between Turkey and Iraq.

With deadly violence through much of the restive southeast, speculation remains as to how Turkey will hold parliamentary elections slated for November 1. The president ordered a re-vote after the ruling party failed for the first time in a decade to secure a majority and talks to form a coalition went nowhere.

Nationalist outrage turns violent

The pattern of deadly attacks have triggered nationalist anger against ethnic Kurds. The Istanbul branch of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) said on Twitter that 126 of the party's buildings around the country were attacked on Monday as Turkish newspaper articles carried accounts of nationalist crowds attacking ethnic Kurds working as seasonable laborers.

Crowds near the southern city of Mersin closed a highway and attacked buses travelling to largely Kurdish regions, breaking windows with rocks, Turkish media reported.

About 2,000 people overran a state construction project in Erzurum province, angry with a group of ethnic Kurdish builders suspected of being PKK sympathizers, the leftwing daily BirGun said.

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas, called for peace between Turks and Kurds.

"I am calling on all my brothers. No matter what they do... do not harm our brotherhood," Demirtas told reporters. "Kurds, Turks embrace each other. The best medicine against all the provocations is peace."

Meanwhile, the PKK handed over 20 Turkish customs officials to human rights groups in northern Iraq on Tuesday, weeks after abducting them in the southeastern provinces of Hakkari and Van, the Turkish Human Rights Association said.

Abductions by the militant group are not unusual and generally end with release of the officials

jar/kms (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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