Two soldiers were killed and three others injured in clashes between Turkish security forces and members of the terrorist Kurdistan workers' Party (PKK) in Uludere, a district in the province of Şırnak, on Thursday morning.
No PKK deaths were reported. Spc. Sgts. Caner Kesimal and Bayram Tekin were killed in the clashes, which occurred near a military base bordering northern Iraq. Three others were wounded and immediately taken to the Şırnak Military Hospital for treatment.
An official ceremony was held for slain Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) members, Tekin and Kesimal. Following the ceremony, Tekin's body was sent to his hometown of Konya and Kesimal's body was sent to his hometown of Rize on Thursday. TSK forces have since begun an operation backed by the Turkish Air Forces (THK) against the terrorist organization in Uludere.
The National Police Department sent an official letter to counterterrorism units across the country last month, calling on them to tighten security measures as the PKK has recently stepped up its campaign of violence. The letter warned counterterrorism units that PKK members are preparing for simultaneous attacks and said that their primary targets are security forces and police stations. The police department also demanded security measures be tightened in public spaces such as metro stations, shopping centers and public transportation.
The PKK, which is fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish Southeast, was founded on a Marxist ideology. Turkey has been conducting airstrikes on PKK camps in Iraq’s northern mountains and inside Turkey since August of last year, following an increase in attacks on Turkish troops and civilians by the PKK, which has been fighting for autonomy for the Southeast since 1984. The conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives. The group is labeled a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, which has supplied Predator drones to assist Turkey.