Eight Turkish Soldiers Dead in Kurdish Rebel Ambush

Posted August 17th, 2011 at 7:05 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Turkey's defense minister says eight Turkish soldiers were killed when their military convoy was ambushed by Kurdish rebels in the country's southeast.

Officials say the attack happened early Wednesday in Hakkari province near Turkey's border with Iraq.

Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz vowed retaliation against the rebels, saying that members of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, are responsible for the attack.

The attack comes just days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey's “patience is running out” with the rebels, who have waged a campaign for autonomy in the largely Kurdish southeast since 1984. The conflict has killed about 40,000 people.

Fighting between Kurdish rebels and the Turkish military has intensified in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, Kurdish rebels attacked a military convoy in southeast Turkey, killing three soldiers and wounding several others. Separately, a battle in July killed 13 Turkish soldiers and seven PKK militants.

Since calling off a cease-fire in February, the PKK has adopted what it calls an “active defense” stance, which allows its fighters to defend themselves if they feel threatened.

Turkey, the United States, and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist group.