PKK militants attack Turkish military despite ceasefire

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Kurdish militants attacked two military outposts in southeastern Turkey, Turkish officials said on Thursday, breaking a three-month ceasefire, but they denied militant reports one soldier had been killed.

The militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) attacked gendarmerie outposts in two separate districts of Diyarbakir province on Wednesday, drawing return fire from security forces, the provincial governor’s office said.

It said no one had been killed or wounded in the attacks in Diyarbakir’s Dicle and Hani districts.

The PKK earlier issued a statement saying its fighters had killed one Turkish soldier in an attack on a military outpost in Hani, in retaliation for the killing of a Kurdish protester last week.

Last Friday, an 18-year-old Kurdish man was shot dead and nine people were wounded as they came under fire during a protest against the construction of a gendarmerie outpost in Diyarbakir province.

While there have been reports of minor isolated incidents of violence in the past few weeks, Wednesday’s attacks appeared to be the most serious violation of a March ceasefire called by PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan as part of a peace process with Ankara.

PKK militants began withdrawing from Turkish territory to bases in northern Iraq in May as part of a deal between the state and Ocalan, imprisoned on an island south of Istanbul since 1999, to end a conflict that has killed 40,000 people.

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, took up arms against the state in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state, but subsequently moderated its goal to autonomy.