Turkish soldier dies in clashes with PKK fighters

Turkey has launched an air and ground offensive against the PKK which it terms a 'terrorist' group.

    On June 17, Turkey launched an air and ground offensive against the PKK, which has fought an armed campaign against the Turkish state since 1984 [File: Bakr Alkasem/AFP]
    On June 17, Turkey launched an air and ground offensive against the PKK, which has fought an armed campaign against the Turkish state since 1984 [File: Bakr Alkasem/AFP]

    A Turkish soldier has died on Sunday in clashes with Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters in northern Iraq, Turkey's defence ministry said in a statement.

    On June 17, Turkey launched an air and ground offensive against the PKK, which has fought an armed campaign against the Turkish state since 1984 and which is listed as a "terrorist" group by Ankara and its Western allies.  

    PKK leader calls for ceasefire in Turkey

    Turkey says the PKK is responsible for the death of more than 40,000 people during three decades of fighting.

    Turkey regularly attacks PKK fighters, both in its mainly Kurdish southeast and in northern Iraq, where the group is based.

    It has also warned in recent years of a potential ground offensive against PKK bases in Iraq's Qandil mountains.

    Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates said the military interventions violated Iraqi sovereignty.

    The latest offensive has sparked protests from Iraq, which has summoned the Turkish envoy in Baghdad twice over the operation.

    Local Kurdish officials in northern Iraq say at least five civilians have been killed since the operation began nearly two weeks ago.

    However, Turkey says it is targeting the PKK and that its army has done everything in its capacity to avoid civilian casualties and attacks on civilian targets.

    Turkey's defence ministry said its security forces "neutralised" a PKK fighter in northern Iraq on Sunday.

    The fighter was targeted in the Zap region in an air-backed operation, the national defence ministry said on Twitter.

    Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralise" to imply the armed fighters in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

    SOURCE: News agencies