Turkey sends extra troops, arms, to fight Kurdish fighters

Last month Turkish forces exchanged fire with Kurdish rebels in the southeast, the Turkish military said, just days after jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan said the group's 30-year insurgency had become "unsustainable".

Turkey sends extra troops, arms, to fight Kurdish fighters

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey sent extra troops, reconnaissance planes and helicopter into its eastern Agri province on Saturday after four soldiers were wounded in a clash with Kurdish insurgents that started during the night, the military said.

Ankara and the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which wants greater Kurdish autonomy, agreed a ceasefire two years ago but the fragile peace process has faltered ahead of Turkey's parliamentary elections in June.

No one from the PKK was immediately available for comment.

The fighting was still going on in Agri's Diyadin district near the Iranian border, the military said on its website.

"Terrorists with rifles opened fire on our forces, who immediately returned fire," it said.

"We have sent reconnaissance planes, armed helicopters and additional ground troops to the region and the clash is still on-going."

About 40,000 people have died in the insurgency.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has invested significant political capital in the Kurdish peace process that started in 2012 and his authority, to some extent, is linked to its success.

Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan, a government negotiator in the peace talks, said the attacks were aimed at causing instability ahead of the election.

"Attempts against public order, election safety and the peace of the nation cannot be tolerated," he said on Twitter. "To put hopes on guns in an election is a sign of desperation and disrespect of the national will."

A sweeping majority in June for the AK Party he founded would allow it to change the constitution and give Erdogan the broader presidential power he seeks. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Nisan 2015, 17:54