Fresh clashes in Turkey as Erdogan vows to expand "terrorist" law

A police officer and three alleged Kurdish militants were killed during clashes in Turkey's restive south-east while Turkish military jets launched a fresh wave of airstrikes against insurgent bases in northern Iraq, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported Tuesday.

The violence comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed late on Monday to broaden the definition of "terrorist" in Turkish law to include those who voice support for certain acts.

"Just because they have titles such as a legislator, an academic, an author, a journalist or head of an civil society organization, does do not change the fact that they are actually terrorists," Erdogan said.

Erdogan said that not only those who carry out attacks but also "accomplices" would also be held accountable.

"This is not a matter of freedom of speech, freedom of the press or freedom of expression," but rather counter-terrorism, he said.

The latest clashes in Turkey between Kurdish militants and the state's security forces took place overnight in Diyarbakir, in the south-east and also saw 10 police officers wounded, according to the report.

The violence follows a car bombing on Sunday evening in the capital Ankara, killing 37 people, including at least one female suicide bomber, officials said.

The government has stopped short of formally blaming the PKK, but is pointing its finger at the group, while also launching fresh military operations against militants in the south-east, including a slew of airstrikes in the hours after the attack.

The state and the PKK have been fighting since 1984, with Kurds often complaining of systemic discrimination, while the government has declared the group a "terrorist" organization. Peace talks were called off last year and a two-year ceasefire collapsed in July.

Last update: Tue, 15/03/2016 - 11:45
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