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Turkish troops die in PKK clashes
Military says it killed seven Kurdish fighters near the border with Iraq.
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2009 01:17 GMT
Turkey has bombed PKK positions across
the border with Iraq [File: EPA]

Turkey's military says two soldiers and seven Kurdish fighters have been killed in separate clashes during a raid in Sirnak, a province on the border with Iraq.

One soldier was also wounded in the fighting between troops and members of the Kudistan Workers Party (PKK), the military said in a statement posted in its website on Saturday.

Violence has subsided this year, compared with last year when Turkish troops carried out large raids against the PKK operating from across the border in northern Iraq.

More than 40,000 people have died since 1984 when the PKK launched its armed campaign for a Kurdish homeland in the southeast of the country.

The military said that operations would continue in the area.

The Kurdish group is listed as a "terrorist" organisation by the government in Ankara, as well as the United States.

Joint efforts

The clashes came as Besir Atalya, the Turkish foreign minister, arrived in Baghdad for discussions on joint efforts to tackle the PKK.

"We expect both the central Iraqi government and the regional administration in the north to undertake concrete steps," he said before departing.

The talks in the Iraqi capital are part of three-way consultations between Turkey, Iraq and the US, initiated last year, Turkey's Anatolia news agency quoted Atalay as saying.

He said he hoped the co-operation would "produce good results, particularly in intelligence sharing".

During a visit to Baghdad by Abdullah Gul, the Turkish president, last month, Jalal Talabani, his Iraqi counterpart and a Kurd, said the PKK must lay down its arms or leave the country.

Source:
Agencies
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