PKK returning to Turkey from Iraq

Two Turkish soldiers and a Kurdish separatist were killed in clashes in eastern Turkey Wednesday amid fears the Kurdish fighters are entering back to Turkey from northern Iraq.

    Fighting between Turks and Kurds
    dropped after PKK leader Abdullah
    Ocalan was tried and jailed in 1999

    Governor of the easternTunceli province Ali Cafer Akyuz said fighting erupted late Tuesday in the mountainous region between the Kurdistan Workers Party|(PKK) rebels and security forces.

    Akyuz said one soldier was killed on Tuesday while the second died in further gunbattles Wednesday. 

    A Kurdish fighter was also killed in Wednesday's fight.

    About 5,000 PKK members have been allegedly based in mainly Kurdish northern Iraq since they left Turkey when their commander Abdullah Ocalan was captured in 1999.

    Ankara fears the PKK will return to Turkey, taking advantage of the upheaval in Iraq.

    The PKK indicated this week it was willing to co-operate with US forces but would not disarm its troops.

    Washington has not responded to the group it describes as a “terrorist” organisation for its campaign during the 1980s and 1990s to create a homeland in south eastern Turkey.

    However, a Turkish military official said about 500 guerrillas had crossed over from Iraq recently, worried about a possible confrontation with US occupation forces in Iraq.
     
    At least 30,000 people, mainly civilians, have died during 15 years of fighting between the separatist Kurds and Turkish forces.


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