Kurdish militants kill four in southeast Turkey

Reuters , Sunday 4 Sep 2011

In the latest string of armed confrontations between Turkish soldiers and the Kurdistan Workers Party militants, four Turks are killed in the south-eastern region

Kurdish militants killed two soldiers and two village militia members in separate attacks in southeast Turkey on Saturday and Sunday, officials said.

The two soldiers were shot dead on Saturday in Tunceli, during the latest in a spate of clashes in a province where Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas have been active in recent months.

A statement released by the provincial governor's office said the soldiers came under fire while patrolling in the rural Geyiksuyu area, state run Anatolian news agency reported.

The two militia men were shot dead on Sunday morning, according to security officials. They had been on patrol near Yusekova in the mountainous southeast province of Hakkari, which borders Iraq. Village militia are often recruited from shepherds to guard the remote settlements.

Four labourers were wounded on Sunday in a grenade blast while working on a construction site next to a police station in the province.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have died in the separatist insurgency.

Turkey's armed forces said they had killed between 145 to 160 militants in air and artillery strikes on PKK bases in northern Iraq in August.

The strikes, launched after PKK fighters killed more than 40 security personnel during July, fuelled tensions between Turkey and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

On Saturday Turkey's south eastern neighbour Iran said its troops had killed or wounded 30 members of the PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan), an offshoot of the PKK. .

The PKK has said it believes Turkey and Iran were coordinating attacks in the region and that it will join forces with the PJAK to counter the assaults.

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