World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish soldiers have killed 18 PKK militants in two days in an offensive involving over 2,000 troops, as well as by F-16 fighter jets operating on both sides of the Turkey-Iraq border, security sources said on Friday.
The operation against militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) began on Wednesday night in Sirnak, a southeasterly province bordering Iraq and Syria and the site of frequent clashes between militants and Turkish troops.
"Eighteen PKK members have been killed. The intense operation is continuing," security sources told Reuters.
The operation has largely focused on Kato mountain, a remote area in Sirnak, but Turkish security sources as well as Iraqi residents said warplanes had bombed areas inside northern Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
A Reuters witness said he had seen several F-16 jets take off from Diyarbakir air base on Thursday night and Friday morning. Diyarbakir is the main city in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast.
There were no reports that Turkish ground troops had crossed the border into northern Iraq, although Turkey has sent soldiers into the region in the past, and still has some 1,000 troops based there under an agreement with Iraq dating from the 1990s.
PKK ATTACKS ON THE RISE
Turkey has stepped up air operations on suspected PKK militants in northern Iraq over the past year after an increase in PKK attacks, and the raids have fuelled tension between Ankara and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Security sources said one Turkish soldier had been killed during clashes with PKK militants at the start of the offensive on Wednesday night.
On Sunday, PKK militants killed 10 members of Turkey's security services in simultaneous attacks on four state and security installations in Sirnak.
More than 40,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
In the 15 months to August, some 800 people were killed, including about 500 PKK fighters, more than 200 security personnel and about 85 civilians, according to estimates by the International Crisis Group think-tank.
Ankara has linked the upsurge on the unrest in neighbouring Syria and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has accused Syria's President Bashar al-Assad of arming the PKK militants.
Turkey has raised the possibility of military intervention in Syria if the PKK were to launch attacks from Syrian soil. On Wednesday, the military conducted a major military exercise on the Syrian border, a clear warning to Damascus.
The authorities said six guns (two pistols, two rifles and two guns for firing blanks) were seized in morning operations on several addresses.
General Staff says that details of how Kurdish peshmerga forces would cross through the country to Syria have not been released.
Turkish Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Tanju Bilgic says Greek foreign minister's "logic" is wrong and undermining the Cyprus peace talks.
Numan Kurtulmus says Islamic world still suffering from 'unequal' postwar system
"We have had no cases of Ebola in our country," the Director General of Turkey’s Health for Border and Coastal Areas says.
Chemical, nuclear and radiology team dispatched to examine mystery packages as Turkish police also called to Belgian Consulate and UK office increases security measures.
Militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) set fire to two vehicles and a cabin at the plant in Kagizman district, and shot at soldiers who returned fire
22-year-old man dies after being hit by falling construction materials
Muslims in Istanbul to perform a funeral prayer in absentia following Friday prayer in Fatih Mosque for Ghulam Azam
Analysts examine new laws aimed at bringing undocumented workers out from the shadowy world of black-market labor.
Newspapers in Turkey have covered President Erdogan’s reaction to the US military’s help to Kurdish fighters in Kobani.
"Strong and balanced public finance affirmatively differentiates Turkey from other countries," the minister said
The Malaysia Airports Holding used its pre-emptive rights to buy an additional 40 percent stake in Turkey's Sabiha Gokcen Airport, it was announced.
The US acted despite opposition from Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says, adding "I told him (Obama) Kobani is not currently a strategic place for you, if anything it is strategic for us"
At least 1 person injured in explosion in hospital’s medical waste section in Turkey’s capital, Ankara
The first and only Chinese-Turkish television channel CTV has begun broadcasting films, documentaries and Chinese cultural and traditional programs to promote Chinese economy, tradition and popular culture.