Erdogan: ‘no break’ in fighting Kurd rebels

Two Turkish soldiers were killed in fighting with Kurdish rebels in a southeastern town near the Iraqi border on Wednesday

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday vowed to press ahead with a military campaign against Kurdish militants after his ruling party swept back to power in a weekend election.

“The operations against the terrorist organisation inside and outside the country are continuing in a determined fashion,” he said. “There will be no break. We will keep on.”

Two Turkish soldiers were killed in fighting with Kurdish rebels in a southeastern town near the Iraqi border on Wednesday, the army said.

“Two hero comrades fell as martyrs during clashes that erupted after an operation” in Yuksekova, the army said on its website, adding that one soldier was also wounded.

On Wednesday, Turkish warplanes have again struck Kurdish rebel targets in the southeast of the country and northern Iraq, the military said.

“Sixteen targets were destroyed as a result of air strikes,” the army said after the operations Tuesday that focused on Turkey’s mountainous Daglica region near the Iraqi border as well as several regions in northern Iraq.

Similar strikes were carried out on Monday against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the day after an election that returned the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to power.

Four Kurdish militants died Tuesday after clashes with Turkish security forces in several parts of the restive southeast, security sources said.

Also Tuesday, Ankara ruled out any resumption of the peace process with the outlawed PKK after a wave of violence erupted in July, leaving a 2013 ceasefire in tatters.

Meanwhile, one person was killed in clashes in southeastern Turkey on Wednesday, security sources said, as violence continued to rock the mainly Kurdish region days after a general election.

A 20-year-old man was shot dead in the town of Silvan, where authorities have ordered a 24-hour curfew in three neighborhoods for a second successive day, security officials said. Clashes between security forces and the PKK’s youth wing continued throughout the day.

On Tuesday, one man was killed in Silvan and two others in Yuksekova, some 450 km (280 miles) to the east.

The autonomy-seeking PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms in 1984, and more than 40,000 people, mainly Kurds, have died in the conflict.

Erdogan had granted some political and cultural rights to Turkey’s estimated 15 million Kurds, but the government abandoned efforts for a negotiated settlement this year ahead of a June vote when the AKP lost its parliamentary majority.

(With Reuters and AFP)

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