27 Kurdish rebels killed in Turkey: Authorities
Ankara: Turkish security forces have killed
27 Kurdish rebels in a helicopter-backed offensive in
southeast Turkey, authorities say, days after another major
The rebels, including an alleged senior commander, were
killed in a five-day long attack targeting caves and other
hideouts on Mt Cudi in Sirnak province, which borders Iraq,
the office of the governor said late yesterday.
Five other rebels, suspected members of the
autonomy-seeking Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were captured
alive, it added.
Pro-Kurdish news agency Firat confirmed clashes in Cudi,
but made no mention of any rebel deaths.
The announcement came two days after another major
offensive against the autonomy-seeking group, also backed by
airpower, left 21 suspected rebels dead in Diyarbakir
province, some 300 kilometers (190 miles) away.
The rebels, branded as terrorists by the United States
and the European Union, are fighting for autonomy in Turkey's
mainly Kurdish southeast. Tens of thousands of people have
died in the conflict since 1984.
The operations are a victory of sorts for the Turkish
military, which seemed to be struggling to clamp down on
guerrilla activities after a spate of attacks killed dozens of
soldiers and civilians this year.
They follow the US deployment of four Predator drones to
Turkey from Iraq following the American troops' withdrawal
from the country. The US has pledged to assist Turkey in its
fight against the rebels who often stage attacks from bases
across the border in Iraq's north.
Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said this week that
Turkey is determined to press ahead with the anti-rebel
operations, rejecting speculation of possible new negotiations
with the PKK to end the violence.
"At this moment, no place is secure for the PKK and its
members, nor will it be," Atalay said.
In a related development, Turkish authorities today
released a photographer for the French news agency, Agence
France Presse, along with 13 other people who were detained as
part of an investigation into a group prosecutors accuse of
having links to the PKK.