Eight soldiers, 46 PKK militants killed in clashes

Eight soldiers, 46 PKK militants killed in clashes

ŞEMDİNLİ - Doğan News Agency
Eight soldiers, 46 PKK militants killed in clashes

Eight members of the Turkish security forces and 46 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants were killed in clashes in the southeastern province of Hakkari and the eastern province of Tunceli on Nov. 2.

A clash erupted near the Şemdinli district of Hakkari, after the security forces spotted a group of PKK militants who were allegedly preparing to launch an attack by infiltrating into Turkish soil in the Ortaklar region taking advantage of the severe weather conditions, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement.

It said six soldiers and two village guards were killed in the clashes and another two soldiers were injured.

The soldiers were identified as contracted privates Sercan Kara, Emre Karaaslan, Ömer Küçük, Tayfun Kavun, infantry specialized sergeant Gökhan Kurak, infantry private Erhan Karaca and village guards Osman Yeşil and Alaattin Tekin.

Their bodies were transferred to a military hospital in the neighboring province of Van.

The military also stated that five PKK militants were immediately “neutralized” in the clashes.

Turkish authorities use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the militants in question were either killed, wounded or captured.

Later in the day, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that 22 PKK militants were killed in the clashes, which he said were continuing.

“May God rest the souls of our eight martyrs. Twenty-two terrorists, 17 in Hakkari and five in Tunceli, were neutralized during those clashes. The clashes are continuing at the same level right now. As we always say, we will take revenge. We will continue our struggle until we eliminate those terrorists to the end,” Erdoğan said, speaking in the capital Ankara.

Speaking at the same event in Ankara, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also condemned the attack, vowing to continue leading the anti-terror fight.

“No matter what they try to do, no matter who the enemy of Turkey is, this nation and those who attempt to threaten the freedom and presence of this country will see the necessary response thanks to the prayers and support of the 80 million [Turkey’s population]. Our determination in the fight against terror, which is a matter of survival for our nation and the country, will increasingly continue,” Yıldırım said.

Separately, the Interior Ministry issued an updated statement on Nov. 2, saying that a total of 46 PKK militants were “neutralized” in the operations against the militants Hakkari, Tunceli and the southeastern province of Şırnak.

It said 26 of the militants were killed in the rural areas of Şemdinli, while another nine were killed around the Nazımiye district of Tunceli and the other 11 were killed in Şırnak.

The Turkish Armed Forces also said in a statement that the 19 militants in Şemdinli were neutralized during an air-supported operation after the attack and they were attempting to flee to northern Iraq.

It added that three rocket-propelled grenades, one AT-4 rocket launcher, 10 rocket ammunitions, eight propelling cartridges, one Kalashnikov and 10 hand-made grenades used by PKK militants were seized during search activities near Şemdinli.

Interior Ministry Süleyman Soylu also vowed that such attacks would not damage the unity of the country.

“I want to express that our sadness does not obstruct our determination, and the things we are going through also cannot obstruct our brotherhood, unity and love for each other. They want to isolate us and want us to be pitted against each other. They want our brothers to clash with us but we will never allow that,” Soylu said.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also extended his condolences to the relatives of the killed soldiers and village guards in the attack.