Three Turkish police killed by PKK as new curfews imposed
Three policemen were killed by Kurdish militants on Sunday in two separate attacks in Turkey`s southeast, security sources said, as the authorities imposed new curfews in the battle against the rebels.
Diyarbakir: Three policemen were killed by Kurdish militants on Sunday in two separate attacks in Turkey`s southeast, security sources said, as the authorities imposed new curfews in the battle against the rebels.
Two officers were killed and five wounded on a highway outside the city of Sirnak in a car bomb attack carried out by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the sources told AFP.
Security forces in assault helicopters then pursued the militants suspected of carrying out the attack. Five "terrorists" were killed, the office of the regional governor said.
Meanwhile, one policeman died and one more was wounded in a rocket attack carried out by the PKK in the Silvan district of the southeastern region of Diyarbakir.
Three suspected PKK members were also killed and large amounts of weaponry seized as the result of a three-day operation around Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey, the governor`s office said.
Since late July, Ankara has used air power and ground forces in a self-declared "anti-terror" operation to try to cripple the PKK in its strongholds in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq.
But the group has hit back, killing dozens of Turkish police and soldiers in almost daily attacks.
The security forces had over the last week carried out a massive military operation against suspected PKK militants in the southeastern town of Cizre, lifting a curfew on Saturday after nine days.
Thousands on Sunday attended a funeral ceremony for 16 people killed in Cizre during the curfew. Kurdish activists say 21 civilians were dead in total but the government denies any major civilian losses.The authorities on Sunday imposed a curfew in several districts of Silvan after the deadly attack on police, informing citizens of the measure through loudspeakers on mosques, Turkish media said.
A curfew meanwhile was also imposed in parts of the central Sur district of Diyarbakir city, as the authorities conducted a new operation against suspected Kurdish militants.
A statement from the local governor`s office said that the curfew had been put in place at 5:00 am (0200 GMT) and would last until further notice.
Speaking just outside the curfew zone, the leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples` Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas said the situation showed the need for a return to peace talks.
"We call on all the parties to take into account the public`s expectations," he said in televised comments.
Demirtas said both "Ankara and Qandil" had to respond to public pressure for peace, referring to both the Turkish government and the PKK`s leadership based in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq.
Television pictures showed police roadblocks preventing access to the historical centre of Diyarbakir within its famous dark-hued city walls.
There were clashes during the operation in which seven police officers were wounded, Turkish media said.
The spate of violence has ended a 2013 ceasefire aimed at finding a final peace deal to end the PKK`s three-decade insurgency, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
The PKK initially took up arms in 1984 with the aim of establishing an independent state for Turkey`s Kurdish minority, although lately the demands have focused on greater autonomy and rights.
"In Cizre, in Diyarbakir there is a problem, it`s called the Kurdish problem," said Demirtas. "It`s the problem of Kurds being able to live freely on their own land with their own language, culture and history."