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Turkey Lifts Emergency Rule

October 3, 1997

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ With anti-rebel clashes concentrated in northern Iraq, Turkey has lifted a 10-year policy of emergency rule from three southeastern provinces where the military says the Kurdish rebel threat has diminished.

The Turkish Parliament voted Thursday to lift emergency rule in the provinces of Bitlis, Batman and Bingol.

Six provinces remain under the rule, although the government has promised to gradually remove it.

The martial-law-like rule allowed provincial governors to impose curfews, call in military forces to suppress illegal demonstrations, ban rallies and issue search warrants.

Meanwhile, the fighting continued as more Turkish jets streamed over the Iraqi border to lend power to some 16,000 soldiers fighting Turkish Kurdish rebels, while troops clamped down on a guerrilla camp near the Iranian border, a report said today

The daily Milliyet said troops had surrounded the rebel base at Hakurk, where the borders of Turkey, Iran and Iraq meet.

The 13-day incursion has killed more than 300 Kurdish rebels and six soldiers, according to the military.

The rebels belong to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey. They maintain bases in northern Iraq for hit-and-run raids.

After 13 years of fierce fighting that has cost 28,000 lives, Turkey has pushed its war with the autonomy-seeking Kurds out of the cities and mainly to the mountains.

More than 2,500 villages have been evacuated by the army to cut off potential guerrilla support in the past four years in the impoverished southeast.

Military forces have been accused of widespread rights violations, including allegations of burning villages believed to be hideouts for Kurdish rebels.

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