At least nine PKK fighters are reported to have been killed. Meanwhile, tensions between the government and the Kurdish party HDP are increasing.
Fighting in southeastern Turkey has been intensifying for months. Photo: dpa
At least nine rebels were killed Wednesday in an attack by Turkish attack helicopters on units of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Anatolia, according to media reports. The attack took place near the town of Idil, where security forces have been cracking down on PKK squads since last week, the official Anadolu news agency reported. According to the report, nine rebels were killed; other media reported 12 dead.
The army and police have been cracking down on PKK units in several cities in Turkey’s southeast for months. More than a thousand people are reported to have been killed in the fighting. Entire streets were destroyed in the fighting, which was fought with heavy weapons. Street fighting between security forces and the PKK began in Idil in the middle of last week. A curfew is in effect in the city.
Curfews have also been in place since then in the city of Cizre and in the Sur district of the Kurdish metropolis of Diyarbakir. In the city of Silopi, the curfew was relaxed last month; it now applies only at night.
The online edition of the Hurriyet newspaper reported that the PKK had wanted to reinforce its units in Idil, but that the advancing PKK troops had come under fire from attack helicopters.
The fighting is taking place against a backdrop of growing political tensions between the government and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Turkey’s largest legal Kurdish party. The HDP had come under criticism in recent days because some of its representatives had attended funeral services for the suicide bomber in Ankara who killed 29 people in a car bomb attack in the capital last week. The pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak on Wednesday called for the HDP, which has 59 deputies in parliament, to be thrown out of the people’s assembly.