Turkey: Eight soldiers, dozens of Kurds killed in south-east clashes

Eight Turkish soldiers and 35 Kurdish militants died in renewed fighting in the country's south-east, much of it focused around a military base, the Dogan news agency reported Saturday, citing army sources.

Turkey reported Friday that five soldiers were killed in an attack on a road in Hakkari province in the south-east.

The army said members of the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) then tried to stage a multi-pronged attack on a base in Hakkari in the early morning.

Aerial counter strikes and clashes on the ground led to at least 27 militants being killed.

Eight additional militants were killed in nearby clashes, the army said.

There was no way to independently verify the military's information. The PKK itself did not confirm the death toll.

The pro-Kurdish Firat news agency claimed that at least 15 Turkish soldiers had been killed.

Clashes between the state forces and PKK restarted last year after a ceasefire collapsed when peace talks stalled.

At least 1,786 people have been killed in the cycle of violence related to the Kurdish question in Turkey over the past year, including 663 members of the PKK and 310 civilians, according to the International Crisis Group think-tank.

The Turkish government confirmed nearly 600 members of the security forces were killed.

About half a million people in the mostly-Kurdish south-eastern Turkey have been displaced, Kurdish officials say.

The PKK and the state have been fighting for more than 30 years, leaving more than 40,000 people dead. The Kurdish minority has long complained of system discrimination and many demand greater autonomy in the south-east.

The Turkish military is currently in a certain state of upheaval, following the failed coup attempt of July 15.

Thousands of soldiers have been arrested, and 1,600 officers have been discharged, including about 150 generals, some of whom had key duties in the war against the PKK.

Last update: Sat, 30/07/2016 - 19:02
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