Soldier killed in militants’ ambush in southeastern Turkey
VAN – Doğan News Agency
The incident took place as soldiers were patrolling the border zone with Iran to prevent smuggling activities late on Aug 19. DHA PhotoOne soldier was killed and another was injured in an ambush set by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants near the Iranian border in the eastern province of Van late on Aug. 20.
The incident comes one day after clashes in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır over a statute of Mahsun Korkmaz, one of the PKK’s founders, which left one soldier and one demonstrator dead, amid a fresh government push to open direct talks with the organization’s leadership.
Lieutenant Emre As was fatally shot as militants opened fire with long barreled rifles while soldiers were patrolling the border zone to prevent smuggling activities, after which militants escaped, Doğan News Agency reported.
Tensions have increased in the region after the army’s intervention to remove Korkmaz’s statue in Diyarbakır’s Lice district, prompting protests in several cities, including the Istanbul neighborhoods of Okmeydanı and Kadıköy.
Deputy Minister Beşir Atalay said Aug. 20 that the government was considering launching direct talks with the PKK’s senior leaders in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq as part of a new road map. Atalay’s statements came a few days after the PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan said the "30-year war is in its ending phase."