Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Kurdish PKK kill 24 Turkish soldiers
Twenty-four members of the Turkish security forces were killed and 18 were injured in the southeastern province of Hakkari early on Wednesday in simultaneous attacks carried by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the private Cihan news agency has reported. Cihan said terrorists attacked several military and police buildings in the Çukurca district and Hakkari's city center and that 24soldiers and police officers were killed. At least 18 soldiers were also wounded when the terrorists opened fire on military outposts in Çukurca and Yüksekova districts in Hakkari province on the border with Iraq, the sources said. The attacks reportedly occurred simultaneously. Hakkari Governor Muammer Türker confirmed the attacks in the predominantly Kurdish province of Hakkari but gave no further information about casualties. Earlier, the sources said 21 soldiers had been killed but later raised the toll. Turkey's armed forces could not be immediately reached for comment. The PKK did not immediately claim responsibility for the attacks. Reuters said citing military sources that Turkish commandos crossed into northern Iraq in hot pursuit of the terrorists after the Hakkari attacks.
The attacks come only a day after five policemen and three civilians, including a 2-year-old girl, were killed in a roadside bomb attack planted by the PKK in nearby Bitlis province.
Wednesday's attacks also come only days after Turkish President Abdullah Gül visited troops in the region to boost morale in an area that has seen increased violence in recent months.
Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel and force commanders travelled to Hakkari after the news of the soldiers' deaths. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was scheduled to leave the country on Wednesday for an official visit to Kazakhstan, cancelled his trip. There are reports that Erdoğan will also go to Hakkari.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also cancelled a planned trip to Serbia on Wednesday.