Turkish raids 'kill PKK fighters'

Kurdish group rejects claims that more than 150 fighters died in cross-border raids.

    Turkish forces have increased pressure on PKK fighters inside Iraq in recent months [Reuters] 
    "According to initial assessments, more than 150 terrorists were rendered inefficient [killed] and the operation led to panic among the members of the terrorist organisation," a Turkish military statement released on Saturday said.

    It said that 43 targets, including shelters and a PKK communications centre, were destroyed.

    'Psychological warfare'

    Ahmed Danis, a PKK spokesman told the AFP news agency: "The Turkish government is indulging in psychological warfare against the people of Kurdistan and PKK."
      
    "The Turkish media is exaggerating the number of attacks and the number of people killed and wounded."


    An official from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, which is headed by Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, said villagers had told him that four PKK fighters were killed in the Turkish operation.

    The Turkish military has launched several air raids on PKK bases in northern Iraq in recent months.

    In February, Turkish troops crossed into Iraqi territory, conducting an eight-day operation to destroy PKK targets.

    Clashes between PKK fighters and Turkish troops have sporadically continued along Turkey's border with Iraq.

    Self-determination

    The Kurdish party took up arms in 1984 in an effort to secure Kurdish self-determination.

    Tens of thousands of people have since been killed in fighting.

    The group holds bases in the north of Iraq, which it uses as a launch pad for attacks against targets inside Turkey.

    The Kurdistan Workers' Party leadership is believed to be hiding in the Qandil region, about 100 km from the Turkish border.

    Turkey, like the US and the European Union, lists the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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