60 die as Kurds and Turks clash

MORE THAN 50 rebels and 10 Turkish soldiers were killed yesterday in the biggest battle yet of Turkey's eight-year-old Kurdish insurgency.

The battle raged for 10 hours 20km (12 miles) north of the Iraqi border at the remote Iranian- Turkish border post of Alan. Turkish officials said the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) attacked a gendarmerie outpost with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades after crossing the border from Iran. Turkish radio said 100 rebels may have died.

Turkey has accused Syria, Iraq and Iran of encouraging the PKK. If previous patterns are followed, its minimum first response is likely to be air attacks on the Kurdish 'safe haven' enclave in northern Iraq where the PKK has bases in the rugged mountains where the Turkish, Iranian and Iraqi borders meet. Troops have been massing in south-east Turkey and warplanes flying reconnaissance missions along the border for days. Even before yesterday's fighting, Turkish newspapers had been predicting a big land and air operation into Iraq against the PKK.

Turkey's political and military leaders met last week in the Kurdish regional capital of Diyarbakir to underline their determination to stamp out the organisation, which has demanded an independent Kurdish state for the Middle East's 20 million Kurds, more than half of whom live in Turkey. The two main Iraqi Kurdish leaders, Masoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani, have arrived in the Turkish capital for talks.

The Marxist PKK has accused the two more conservative leaders of co-operating with Turkey against them. For his part, the PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, denied in an interview published yesterday that he was being supported by Saddam Hussein to weaken the Turkish link in the Western alliance.

The Turkish position is hardening as Kurdish rebels spread their struggle into the big cities after several murderous months in the south-east, where about 5,000 people have been killed since August 1984, when the PKK started its armed separatist campaign.

Since Friday the press has blamed the PKK for machine- gunning a Turkish airliner, for an arson attack that burned out an Istanbul ferry, and bombings that included a small explosion outside the British consulate in Istanbul. In Adana, a woman died and nine people were injured in an attack on a tennis club.

The Kurds, for their part, are angered by heavy-handed state tactics, denial of their Kurdish identity and unsolved murders of Kurdish nationalists. The latest person to die in more than 60 death squad-style killings in the past year was shot dead in Diyarbakir on Saturday. He was the brother of the local chief of HEP, the main legal pro-Kurdish party.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power