Four Turkish soldiers killed in clashes with Kurdish rebels

Six others were wounded as Turkey's defense minister flew to the Kurdish province of Hakkari to attend a funeral procession.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish rebels killed four Turkish soldiers and wounded six others on Friday at midnight near the Kurdistan Region border, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said in a press release.

Clashes erupted during a Turkish army operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group the NATO member country outlaws along with its Western allies for leading a four-decade-long rebellion against the Turkish state over Kurds’ demands of self-rule and cultural rights.

The Turkish forces expanded the scope of the operation with the help of airstrikes and mortars in the snow-clad mountainous region of the Hakkari province, the ministry said, without providing further details.

There was no comment from the PKK regarding the clashes as of the time of publishing this report.

It was unclear if there were Kurdish casualties, but the Turkish army said they were working “to determine” that.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akara flew to Hakkari to attend a military funeral procession for the slain soldiers and conduct a meeting with his generals stationed in the Kurdish province.

Meanwhile, the Ankara-appointed governor’s office in Hakkari banned all meetings, rallies, press conferences, sit-ins, and demonstrations for 30 days; a measure which Turkish authorities frequently implement since the failed coup to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in mid-2016.

This latest round of violence is the largest in the aftermath of the nationwide March 31 local elections in Turkey which saw Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) lose control of capital Ankara and Istanbul, the country’s commercial hub.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany