13 Turkish Soldiers Killed, 7 Wounded In Clash With Kurdish Militants

Posted July 14th, 2011 at 2:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Turkish officials now say Kurdish militants killed 13 soldiers and wounded seven others in clashes in the southeastern Diyarbakir Province. At least five rebels also died in the fighting.

Government authorities say the operation is ongoing with more troops sent to the region to hunt for rebels in Diyarbakir Province. The Associated Press says Thursday's attack was the deadliest on Turkish troops in more than three years.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party has been fighting for an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey since 1984. That fighting between Turkish forces and the rebels has killed about 40,000 people.

The Kurds are expected to play an important part in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's push to amend the country's constitution, which was written in 1982 when Turkey was under military rule.

The prime minister says the amended constitution would guarantee more rights for minorities, including Kurds. Kurdish leaders say it should recognize the Kurds as a distinct element of the nation and grant them autonomy.