Hours-long heavy clashes with PKK militants leave one soldier dead in eastern Turkey
TUNCELİ – Doğan News Agency
A group of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants have stormed a district in the eastern province of Tunceli, attacking security forces and prompting heavy clashes in which a specialized sergeant was killed and three police officers were wounded.
The governor of the province has declared a curfew in the town in response to the clashes.
Entering the Nizamiye district of Tunceli from a number of different points at around 4:50 a.m. on Aug. 22, a group of between 30 and 40 PKK militants initially carried out a rocket attack on the town’s police station and gendarmerie commandership from a nearby health center’s garden, during which they also set the center’s two ambulances on fire.
In the heavy clashes that continued until 06:30 a.m., security forces killed two PKK militants, one of whom was identified as a woman. Other militants attempted to flee Nizamiye using vehicles stolen from inside the town.
The militants also attacked the government office and secretary general of the special provincial administration buildings in the town using machine guns, setting many official vehicles on fire.
Heavy clashes were also reported in rural areas outside the town.
Additional gendarmerie forces were dispatched to the area by Tunceli Gendarmerie Commandership as well as police special forces. Two Cobra helicopters reportedly targeted the militants in aerial operations.
The Tunceli Governor’s Office declared an indefinite curfew in the town following the clashes.
Wounded police officers reported to be in a critical condition were taken to the Elazığ Military Hospital in helicopters before being transferred to the Fırat University Hospital in ambulances.
The soldier killed has been identified as 25-year-old Murat Durmaz from the Black Sea province of Trabzon.
Meanwhile, in the Viranşehir district of Şanlıurfa province, one police officer was killed and three others were wounded when an explosive laid on a road was detonated during a police vehicle’s passage.
Police officer Ömer Sönmez was killed in the attack while those wounded, whose names have not yet been identified, were taken to a research and training hospital in the district.
Wide-scale operations were initiated in the area to apprehend the militants responsible for the deadly blast.