18 Turkish Soldiers Killed in Kurdish Attack
IGDIR, Turkey (AP) _ Kurdish separatists fired rockets at a military outpost in the country’s troubled eastern region, killing 16 soldiers, the Anatolia news agency reported Sunday.
Two more Turkish soldiers were killed Saturday when their vehicle hit a mine planted by Kurdish guerrillas. They were headed to the outpost, which is near the Iranian border.
Erdogan Izgi, governor of eastern Igdir province, told Anatolia that the guerrillas infiltrated into Turkey from Iran. They are members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for self-rule in eastern and southeastern Turkey since 1984. The fighting has claimed more than 7,000 lives.
Guerrillas stepped up their attacks after a two-month cease-fire that they unilaterally declared failed to draw the government into autonomy talks.
The Turkish army has launched massive land and air operations in the region to wipe out the Kurdish bases.