Europe

Turkey air strikes: PKK targeted by air force jets

A Turkish F-16 fighter jet takes off from Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, Turkey, on 27 July 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Turkish air force says it struck 17 PKK targets

Turkey launched a series of overnight air strikes against Kurdish militants, aimed at 17 targets in the south-east, the army says.

The targets were in Hakkari province on the border with Iran and Iraq.

Turkey has seen increasing violence in recent weeks between the military and Kurdish separatists.

The strikes come a day after nine people were killed in a wave of attacks on security forces, some of them in the south-east.

The PKK has said it was behind one of those - the bombing of an Istanbul police station in which four people died.

In a statement, the PKK named three of its members who died in the attack and during a subsequent clash with Turkish security forces.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The PKK claimed responsibility for the bombing of a police station in Istanbul

A ceasefire in the long-running conflict with the group appeared to disintegrate in July, when Turkey began bombing PKK camps in northern Iraq, at the same time as launching air strikes on Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria.

At least 50 people have died in the renewed violence.

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Tuesday's air strikes are being widely interpreted as retaliation for the attacks conducted on Monday, says the BBC's Selin Girit in Istanbul.

Early on Tuesday morning, further attacks took place. The Turkish military said Kurdish militants had attacked an army base in Sirnak, in the south-east. A soldier died of his wounds in hospital.

Dawn raids also saw 16 people who were allegedly members of the Patriotic Revolutionist Youth Movement, being taken into custody according to the state-run agency Anadolu.

And overnight, there were more shoot-outs between Turkish forces and militants in three other cities.

Turkey has for the last couple of weeks hit targets of the PKK in its strongholds in the remote mountains of northern Iraq and south-eastern Turkey.

Kurdish fighters, some from the PKK, have secured significant victories against IS in Syria and Iraq.

But the PKK accuses Turkey of using its campaign against IS as cover for taking on the separatists - something the government denies.

Turkey, like a number of Western countries, considers the PKK a terrorist organisation.

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