Kurdish militants kill Turkish soldier, EU calls for revived peace talks

AFP , Tuesday 10 Nov 2015

Kurdish militants fired on a military convoy in southeast Turkey on Tuesday and killed one soldier, security sources said, as the European Union urged Ankara to stem the violence and revive peace talks.

Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by a steady stream of clashes with militants which has killed hundreds since a two-year hold ceasefire between the state and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants broke down in July.

The latest PKK attack occurred before dawn as the convoy, escorted by a police vehicle, entered Yuksekova district in Hakkari province near the Iranian border, said the sources, adding one police officer was wounded. The armed forces confirmed in a statement that a soldier had died.

Areas of the southeast have been intermittently subject to round-the-clock curfews in response to the conflict. Security sources said six people have died in clashes in the town of Silvan in Diyarbakir province since a curfew began there eight days ago.

Last Thursday, the PKK ended a month-old ceasefire that it declared ahead of a Nov. 1 election. That vote was won by the AK Party founded by President Tayyip Erdogan, who subsequently vowed to fight the PKK until all fighters were "liquidated".

Erdogan has overseen a peace process launched with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in late 2012 but talks were frozen in April and the European Commission called on Tuesday for the revival of the process.

"The settlement process of the Kurdish issue came to a halt despite earlier positive developments on the issue. It is imperative that the peace talks resume," the European Commission said in its annual report on Turkey.

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

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

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