Posted on September 25, 2016 by Editorial Staff in PKK
Turkish security forces in the southeast Kurdish region. Photo: AFP
DIYARBAKIR-AMED, Turkey’s Kurdish region,— A Turkish soldier and a pro-government village guard were killed on Saturday in separate clashes with Kurdish rebels in Turkey’s restive southeast, local media reported.
The soldier died when fighting erupted in the Lice district of Diyarbakir province between security forces and militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), security sources told the official Anadolu news agency.
Another soldier was injured while one PKK militant was killed, Dogan news agency reported, adding that operations continued in 18 villages in the province where long curfews were imposed on Friday.
A village guard was killed in the foothills of Cudi Mountain in Sirnak province after rebels opened fire on security forces, Dogan said.
He was part of a group of locals cooperating with Turkish security forces to fight the PKK
Village guards, ethnic Kurds armed men paid by the government supporting the Turkish state, are considered as traitors by the PKK and local Kurdish community in Turkey.
Village guards have the right to carry arms, to inform on suspected separatist activities and to kill in the name of the state has made them a force within the region, while critics say they use their status to settle family scores and take over land.
Turkish warplanes destroyed PKK shelters and areas where arms were stored on Friday in the Buzul mountains in Hakkari province on the border with northern Iraq, the chief of staff said in a statement, quoted by Anadolu.
Since July 2015, Turkey initiated a controversial military campaign against the PKK in the country’s southeastern Kurdish region after Ankara ended a two-year ceasefire agreement. Since the beginning of the campaign, Ankara has imposed several round-the-clock curfews, preventing civilians from fleeing regions where the military operations are being conducted.
Observers say the crackdown has taken a heavy toll on the Kurdish civilian population and accuse Turkey of using collective punishment against the minority.
Activists have accused the security forces of causing huge destruction to urban centres and killing Kurdish civilians. But the government says the operations are essential for public safety, blaming the PKK for the damage.
Pro-Kurdish opposition political parties say about 1,000 civilians, mostly Kurds, have perished in the fighting, since the Turkish offensive against the PKK centred in towns and cities in Turkish Kurdistan.
The PKK took up arms in 1984 against the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to push for greater autonomy for the Kurdish minority who make up around 22.5 million of the country’s 78-million population. A large Kurdish community in Turkey and worldwide openly sympathise with PKK rebels.