The People's Defense Forces (HPG), an armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), has said that it killed a Turkish soldier in an attack on a gendarmerie outpost in Diyarbakır province in retaliation for the death of a Kurdish man recently killed during clashes with Turkish police in the same province, with the governor denying the claim.
One person died and nine others were wounded on Friday when clashes broke out between security forces and protesters opposing the construction of a new gendarmerie outpost in the village of Kayacık in Diyarbakır's Lice district. The outpost would be a high-security one, called a “kalekol” in Turkish, which locals say has been associated with the torture of area residents for many years. There were also claims by wounded protesters that they were shot from behind by gendarmerie officials. Shortly after the event, a special sergeant was abducted and later released, with authorities blaming the PKK.
The HPG reportedly said in a statement that it killed a Turkish soldier on July 3 in Diyarbakır's Hani district in an attack on the Hegasor outpost. The Turkish General Staff has not released any statement concerning such an incident, but Diyarbakır Governor Cahit Kıraç denied the HPG's claim.
“The allegation that an attack has been staged on an outpost and a soldier has been killed is a lie,” Kıraç said in comments on the issue.
The incident in Lice marked the most violent clash in the region since a cease-fire declaration by the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, in March that led to a virtual standstill in the conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state.
Turkish authorities and Öcalan have held a series of talks to end the decades-old Kurdish conflict, which has resulted in the deaths of at least 40,000 people. At least five groups of deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have visited İmralı Island, off the İstanbul coast, where Öcalan is imprisoned, trying to work out the details of the settlement.