HAKKARI, Turkey’s Kurdish region,— One Turkish soldier was killed and four were wounded in an armed attack by Kurdish militants in the southeastern province of Hakkari in Turkish Kurdistan, the Turkish military said on Thursday.
Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast has been ravaged by violence, as the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has targeted security forces since abandoning a 2-1/2-year ceasefire in July 2015.
In a statement released on Thursday, the military said the four wounded soldiers were not in critical condition.
Since July 2015, Turkey initiated a controversial military campaign against the PKK in the country’s southeastern Kurdish region after Ankara ended a two-year ceasefire agreement. Since the beginning of the campaign, Ankara has imposed several round-the-clock curfews, preventing civilians from fleeing regions where the military operations are being conducted.
Observers say the crackdown has taken a heavy toll on the Kurdish civilian population and accuse Turkey of using collective punishment against the minority. Activists have accused the security forces of causing huge destruction to urban centres and killing Kurdish civilians.
The PKK took up arms in 1984 against the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to push for greater autonomy for the Kurdish minority who make up around 22.5 million of the country’s 79-million population. Nearly 40,000 people have been killed in the resulting conflict since then.
A large Kurdish community in Turkey and worldwide openly sympathise with PKK rebels and Abdullah Ocalan, who founded the PKK group in 1974, and has a high symbolic value for most Kurds in Turkey and worldwide according to observers.