9 soldiers, 15 militants killed in clashes, ops in Turkey’s southeast

9 soldiers, 15 militants killed in clashes, ops in Turkey’s southeast

9 soldiers, 15 militants killed in clashes, ops in Turkey’s southeast

DHA photo

A total of six soldiers were killed in clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) while two pilots died as a military helicopter which was dispatched to pursue militants crashed in the eastern province of Hakkari early on May 13. 

Meanwhile, a ninth soldier died in eastern Thrace when a military vehicle rolled down a hill. 

Six soldiers were killed and eight others were wounded as clashes erupted between security forces and PKK militants at the Çığlı base in Hakkari’s Çukurca district at around 4:50 a.m. on May 13.

A helicopter was sent to the area to intervene against the militants but the helicopter crashed at around 5:50 a.m. due to an unknown technical problem. 

The General Chief of Staff released a statement on the incidents, noting that both pilots had died in the crash.

The pilots killed in the accident were identified as lieutenants Müjdat Kerem Şahan and Burak Bikebahşi.

The soldiers who had died in the incidents have been identified as First Class Sgt. Ömer Sadettin Bakır, Master Sgt. Mekan Şahin and specialized sergeants Nazmi Kapucu, İbrahim Akarsu, Fatih Özdemir and Muhammet Arı. 

An air-borne operation was launched to apprehend the militants, the statement said, adding that six PKK militants had been killed so far.

A ninth soldier was killed in the Kaynarca town of Kırklareli’s Pınarhisar district as a military vehicle rolled down a hill for an unknown reason during a military exercise. 

Sgt. Ekrem Çelik, 22, sustained injuries in the accident and was swiftly transferred to Kırklareli State Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. 

In a separate incident in the southeastern province of Siirt, police forces and gendarmerie officials seized a bomb-laden car and two PKK militants late on May 12. 

According to security sources, gendarmerie teams attempted to stop two “suspicious” automobiles in Siirt’s Baykan district but had to chase the suspects as they ignored the warning and fled the scene. 

The vehicles were finally stopped near Çaykaya village where two militants were killed in the ensuing clashes and a soldier was wounded. 

Some 200 kilograms of improvised explosive devices were found in one of the vehicles. 

In anti-terror operations in neighboring Şırnak province, a total 15 PKK militants were killed over the past day, raising the total number of casualties to 355 since the beginning of the operations on March 14. 

Meanwhile, eight suspected members of the PKK were detained in an operation launched after a bomb attack in Istanbul’s Sancaktepe district. Eight people, of whom five were soldiers, were injured when a bomb-laden car was detonated near a military post in Sancaktepe on May 12. 

One of the detained suspects, identified as İ.İ., was the person who allegedly parked and detonated the car bomb, as reported by Anadolu Agency. 

After the attack, anti-terror police officers launched a simultaneous operation on 70 different addresses in Istanbul. 

The interrogations of the detained suspects were ongoing and the number of detentions could reportedly increase.

Istanbul Gov. Vasip Şahin said the explosion inside the parked car occurred at around 4:45 p.m., shortly after a shuttle bus carrying military personnel departed from the İsmail Hakkı Tunaboyu military post.

A number of buildings and shops near the military post were damaged by the explosion. The front of the shuttle bus was also damaged by shrapnel from the bomb-laden car.