An estimated 2,000 people also attended the funeral, where mourners shouted anti-PKK solgans and demanded the execution of Abdullah Ocalan, the group's leader, who has been serving a life sentence since 1999.

Anger has also been mounting at the Turkish government. Mourners booed Abdullah Gul, the president, at a funeral in the western city of Eskisehir.

Many of those present demanded tougher action on the part of the government to crack down on the PKK.

"If there is a government, it should show itself," said Molla Atagur, a 68-year-old resident in Armutlu.

Iraqi 'support'

Many are urging the government for a tougher approach towards the PKK [AFP]
General Hasan Igsiz, the Turkish military chief, has accused leaders in northern Iraq of tolerating PKK fighters

"We don't receive any kind of support from the local administration in the northern part of Iraq," he said.

"Our expectation from them is to accept that the terrorist organisation is a terrorist organisation and eliminate the support provided to it."

The Turkish government is urging Iraqi Kurdish leaders to arrest the fighters and cut their supply lines.

Friday's attack touched off the deadliest battle between Turkish troops and Kurdish fighters in eight months. Fifteen soldiers and at least 23 fighters were killed, while another 20 soldiers were wounded and two were still missing, the military said.

"They did not die in vain, they did their duties and they succeeded," Igsiz said.

Igsiz also said northern Iraqi leaders should block the fighters from using local roads and hospitals.

Iraq's national government has pledged to cooperate with Turkey. Jalal Talabani , the president, who is also a Kurd, told Gul in a phone call on Saturday that he condemned Friday's attack.