Six soldiers killed in PKK attacks in Turkey’s southeast
TUNCELİ – Doğan News Agency
AA PhotoAt least six Turkish soldiers have been killed in two separate terror attacks in eastern Turkey.
Two soldiers were killed and three others were injured in the eastern province of Tunceli on Oct. 18 after outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants detonated a 500-kilogram explosive device as a military vehicle passed by on a road connecting Tunceli and the eastern province of Erzincan. The explosion created a hole measuring two meters deep by four meters wide.
The attack came on the third day of an aerially-supported military operation against PKK militants, an operation centered in Tunceli’s Pülümür Valley.
The injured soldiers were taken to the Tunceli Public Hospital for treatment.
Meanwhile in the southeastern province of Hakkari, four soldiers were killed following clashes with outlawed PKK militants in Hakkari’s Yüksekova district in a military operation, the Turkish General Staff said in two separate written statements.
Three soldiers were killed and six others, one of them severely wounded, were injured when clashes erupted during an operation in Yüksekova’s Dağlıca village and the surrounding area, the General Staff said on Oct. 17.
The Dağlıca death toll increased to four, as the General Staff released a second statement on Oct. 18, saying the severely wounded soldier had succumbed to his injuries and the treatment of the other five soldiers was continuing.
Seventeen PKK militants were killed in the operation, the statement added.
One of the soldiers killed was Lt. Col. İhsan Ejdar, the commander of the battalion conducting the operations in the area.
Ejdar was promoted to the post after the battalion’s former commander, Lt. Col. İlker Çelikcan, along with 15 of his men, was killed in a PKK ambush in the same area on Sept. 6.
The other two soldiers were Sgt. Turgay Topsakaloğlu and Sgt. Samet Çakır. The name of the fourth soldier has not yet been released.
The PKK announced a unilateral cease-fire last week, but the Turkish military has been continuing offensives against militants both in Turkey and northern Iraq.
Turkey has stepped up efforts to secure its borders and nearby areas in Turkey’s east and southeast in particular, with cross-border military operations, aerial campaigns and domestic operations against PKK militants.
Turkish airstrikes hit militant camps in the Sinath-Haftanin area in northern Iraq on Oct. 18, the General Staff said, destroying shelters and ammunition used by the Separatist Terrorist Organization (BTÖ), a phrase the Turkish military uses to refer to the PKK.
In the southeastern province of Şırnak, two improvised explosive devices, 416 rocket projectiles and 10 raw items used in bomb making were seized during a land search conducted by security forces, the General Staff added.
Turkish authorities have declared curfews in a large number of towns in the country’s east and southeast to prevent civilian casualties while conducting military operations against PKK militants.
Most recently in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, a seven-day curfew took effect at 12:00 a.m. on Oct. 18 in the Tekel, Mescit and Konak neighborhoods in Diyarbakır’s Silvan district.