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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
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

Langley James : IT Support, Bradford £16k - £22k

£16000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Langley James : IT Support, Bradford £16...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager / Invoice Finance £75k OTE

£40000 - £50000 per annum + £75,000 OTE Car+Mobile : h2 Recruit Ltd: Business ...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager-Managed Services-£80,000 OTE

£45000 - £80000 per annum + £80,000 OTE + Car,benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Busine...

Langley James : IT Sales Executive;Borehamwood;£40k(neg) uncapped comm£100k+OTE

£40000 per annum + £100k+ OTE: Langley James : IT Sales Executive; connectivit...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital