One killed in clashes with Kurdish militants in southeast Turkey

Members of the Turkish police special forces stand guard near a polling station during the parliamentary election in Diyarbakir, Turkey. (Reuters)

A taxi driver was killed and five other people, including a police officer, were wounded on Monday when Turkish security forces clashed with Kurdish militants in the southeastern town of Silvan, local media reported.

Silvan, about 80 km (50 miles) east of Diyarbakir, the biggest city in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey, has been under a week-long police curfew imposed in the fight against militants from the youth wing of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

A 45-year-old cab driver was killed during the clashes and an elderly man was wounded when his house was hit by a shell, Hurriyet daily reported.

The newspaper’s images from Silvan showed armoured police vehicles on guard between bullet-scarred buildings. Streets were deserted but strewn with pavement stones, rubble and trash.

Turkey’s southeast has been hit by the worst violence in years after a two-year old ceasefire between the Turkish state and the PKK militants collapsed in July.

Turkish jets pounded PKK targets in the southeastern town of Daglica and in northern Iraq last week, a day after Turkey’s AK Party, founded by President Tayyip Erdogan, regained its parliamentary majority in a Nov. 1 election.

Erdogan, who had previously championed greater Kurdish rights and initiated the peace process, vowed last Wednesday to continue battling the group until every last fighter was “liquidated.”

The PKK, which wants autonomy for Turkey’s large ethnic Kurdish minority, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union as well as by Ankara.

It took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died in the prolonged conflict.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49