Europe

Turkey-PKK conflict: Dozens killed in south-east clashes

Turkish soldiers at a military check point in Diyarbakir, June 2016 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Turkish military has been fighting the PKK insurgency for decades

The Turkish military has killed 35 Kurdish militants who tried to storm a base in the south-east, officials say.

The overnight attack, in the Cukurca district of Hakkari province near the Iraqi border, came hours after clashes between soldiers and militants left eight soldiers dead in the area.

A ceasefire between Turkey's military and the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) broke down in July last year.

The army is reeling from a huge purge following a coup attempt two weeks ago.

In the latest incident in the south-east, PKK fighters were spotted by aerial reconnaissance as they were advancing on the base overnight, the military said.

An air operation was launched, killing 23 militants. Twelve more were killed in later clashes on the ground, the statement added.

The PKK launched its insurgency in 1984, alleging widespread abuse and discrimination against Kurds by Turkish authorities.

Since the ceasefire broke down a year ago, military operations in the south-east and retaliatory attacks by the PKK have left hundreds of people dead.

On Thursday, Turkey announced an overhaul of the armed forces following the coup attempt launched on 15 July.

Nearly 1,700 soldiers have been given dishonourable discharges. About 40% of all generals and admirals in the military have been dismissed.

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