Four soldiers were killed, while six others, including one civilian, were injured on Thursday in separate clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists in the Mediterranean province of Hatay and the eastern province of Hakkari.
Four PKK terrorists were also reported to have been killed in the fighting in Hatay. The slain soldiers in Hatay were identified as Gendarmerie Maj. Erhan Dikmen and Gendarmerie Lt. Aytaç Kaya and Lt. Ahmet Tarım.
A statement posted on the website of the Hatay Governor's Office noted that PKK terrorists opened fire on the security forces, who were conducting an operation in a forested area in a rural area of Amonaslar, located in the province's Dörtyol district.
An extensive operation has been launched in the region to capture the terrorists, the same statement reported. Bekir Toksoy, the mayor of Kuzuculu, where the attack took place, said one of the injured soldiers was in critical condition.
“This is a terrorist attack which happened just 20 kilometers away from residential areas. It is an ugly act of the PKK. I would like to convey my condolences to our nation,” Toksoy said.
President Abdullah Gül and Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek on Thursday sent messages to Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel to offer their condolences over the killing of the three soldiers. The bodies of the soldiers were taken to their hometowns on Thursday, where funeral services will be held today.
The second attack took place in the town of Derecik in Şemdinli, Hakkari province, on Thursday afternoon when PKK terrorists attacked a military outpost with mortars, killing one soldier and injuring four others, including one civilian. The houses and vehicles of some residents in Derecik were also damaged in the attack. A large-scale operation was launched in the area. Thursday’s attacks came one day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been orchestrating a bloody crackdown on his people for over a year, said in an interview broadcast on Russian state news channel Rossiya-24 that the negative events in Syria will turn into chaos and terror in Turkey in the future.
“We have no contact with the Turkish government, but we did not cut dialogue with other political circles in the country. Our opinion about the realities in Syria overlaps with that of those circles. These politicians are aware of the danger. They are aware of the risk that the negative incidents in Syria will manifest as chaos and terror in Turkey in the future,” he said.
The PKK, which has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish Southeast since 1984, was founded on Marxist ideology. Turkey has been conducting air strikes on PKK camps in northern Iraq’s mountainous region and inside Turkey since August of last year, following an increase in attacks on Turkish troops and civilians by the PKK.
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.