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    Fifteen soldiers killed, 20 wounded in PKK clash in southeastern Turkey

    HotNewsTurkey Staff
    04.10.2008 - 09:53 | Son Güncelleme:

    Fifteen Turkish soldiers and 23 terrorists were killed in the clashes when PKK attacked a gendarmerie station in the southeastern province of Hakkari, the Turkish General Staff said on Saturday. Turkey reiterated its commitment in fight against terrorism. (UPDATED)

    Members of the terrorist organization, PKK, had crossed the border from northern Iraq and attacked the Aktutun Gendarmerie Border Unit in Semdinli town of the southeastern province of Hakkari on Friday afternoon, the Turkish army said in a statement posted on its website.

    General Metin Gurak, the chairman of General Staff Communication Department, told a news conference at the General Staff Head Quarters that 23 terrorist were killed in the clash. He said efforts were underway to find two soldiers that have been reported missing.

     

    BOARD’S EMERGENCY MEETING

    Turkey’s Counter Terrorism Higher Board held an emergency meeting on Saturday after the attack. The “necessary measures and methods” in the fight against terrorism were discussed, the board said at a brief statement after the meeting.

     

    "Our fight against terrorism would continue with determination with the effective cooperation of the all state organs... as well as with the implementation of the all measurements taken," the statement added.

     

    The attack came ahead of a critical voting in the Turkish parliament on a new proposal on to extend for another year a mandate giving its military authorization for cross-border operations against PKK bases in northern Iraq.

     

    The voting is expected to take place on Wednesday, nine days before the current mandate expires. The opposition parties extended their support to the extension of the mandate after Saturday’s attack.

     

    Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had cut short his visit to the Central Asia to head the board’s emergency meeting.

     

    PKK USED HEAVY WEAPONS

    The separatist terrorist organization attacked the Aktutun Gendarmerie Border Unit in Bayraktepe region with heavy weaponry support from the north of Iraq, which attributed to the large number of casualties, the website of the General Staff told.

     

    "Two injured staff were sent to Ankara for treatment," Gurak said. Later media reports suggested at least nine soldiers were brought to Ankara for treatment.

     

    Some 350 PKK separatists took part in the attack that was launched at 1 p.m. (1000 GMT), Dogan News Agency reported.

     

    Iraq, the EU and the United States condemned Friday's PKK attack, offering their condolences to the friends and families of those killed and extending their support to Turkey's continued fight against terror.

      

    ONE OF THE DEADLIEST ATTACKS

    Friday’s PKK attack was fifth launched against the Aktutun gendarmerie station, in which a total of 44 soldiers have been killed since 1992.

     

    The attack was the second largest after a 2007 PKK strike that killed 13 soldiers in the southeastern Daglica province.

     

    The Daglica attack placed pressure on the ruling government to increase cross border operations into northern Iraq, where more than 2,000 PKK terrorists take refuge.

     

    PRESSURE ON PARLIAMENT INCREASES

    Experts said the attack put more pressure on parliament to approve a new mandate extending military operations for another year and that more comprehensive measures needed to be taken to end terrorism.

     

    "The aim of this attack is also to put pressure on society at a time when the government is preparing to submit an updated mandate to parliament. These types of clashes will unfortunately continue to happen from time to time," Nihat Ali Ozcan, a terror expert told CNNTurk.

     

    Turkey, provided with intelligence by the United States, has stepped up military action against the PKK since December and has staged several cross-border operations, including a brief land offensive in February, against PKK bases in mountainous northern Iraq over the past 12 months.

     

    "It is impossible to neutralize or completely eradicate an entire terrorist organization… It is also difficult to wipeout an entire terrorist organization unless you cut the flow of funds and block the logistical channels of support expended to it," Retired General Edip Baser said.

     

    The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by much of the international community including the United States and the EU.

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