Turkey kills 13 PKK militants, vows no winter let up
TUNCELİ - Reuters
DHA photoTurkish troops have killed 13 militants and wounded at least five more in three days of a large operation in southeastern Turkey, a senior military officer said on yesterday.
The clashes come as the first winter snows settle in the mountains of southeast Turkey, a time when clashes between the military and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) traditionally ease off as movement becomes more difficult.
Turkey's deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay denied media reports of secret negotiations with the PKK to end the 27-year conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people.
"Our winter operations will continue, there is not and there will not be, any pause," Atalay said in a television interview. But he said the government was determined to continue to try to undercut the PKK with democratic reforms.
Some 3,000 troops, backed by strike aircraft and attack helicopters, began the latest operation after identifying a group of around 30 PKK fighters on Göresi Mountain on the border of Elazığ and Diyarbakır provinces in southeastern Turkey.
After a series of clashes, 13 militants have been killed and at least five wounded, the officer said, adding that the operation was ongoing, but expected to end today.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.