Turkish president says campaign against Kurdish fighters will persist until “not one single terrorist remains”.
Kurdish armed group has said its fighters had killed 15 Turkish soldiers in an attack on a convoy of armoured vehicles in southeast Turkey, in what could be the bloodiest assault since the collapse of a ceasefire in July.
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) said in a statement posted online on Sunday that its members had ambushed the convoy near Daglica village in Yuksekova district of Turkey’s Hakkari province.
“An attack from several sides left 15 soldiers dead, and a large number of weapons were seized in the action,” the statement read.
The number of casualties could not be independently verified but in a televised statement Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed an attack had taken place in Hakkari province, close to Turkey’s borders with Iran and Iraq. He also indicated that several soldiers were killed in the attack.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu cut short a visit to the Turkish city of Konya to convene a security meeting.
The clash marks a rise in a deadly stream of attacks since July, which officials said had already claimed the lives of at least 70 members of the security services and hundreds of PKK members.
The PKK has fought a three-decades-long battle against the government, demanding greater Kurdish autonomy. The group is listed as a terrorist organisation in both Europe and the United States.
Both sides blame the other for the collapse of the July ceasefire, which has left efforts to bring a lasting end to the conflict in tatters.
“A new strategy will be adopted in the fight against (PKK) terror. We’ll continue with determination,” Erdogan said in his address.