PKK hold bodies of Turkish soldiers

October 6, 2008 12:00 am

, SULAIMANIYAH, October 6 – The rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Monday claimed it had the bodies of two Turkish soldiers killed in a raid last week in southeastern Turkey near the border with Iraq.

The PKK said in a statement that its military wing known as the Force of People of Kurdistan had taken "two bodies of Turkish soldiers after the battle in the Shamzinyan area."

The Turkish military said at least 15 soldiers were killed in Friday’s attack on a military outpost in the mountainous southeast, and that two more were missing, accusing Iraqi Kurds of aiding the Turkish Kurdish rebels.

The PKK had claimed its rebels killed 62 Turkish soldiers and wounded another 23.

"The Turkish military used helicopters and we shot down one of them," the PKK statement said. "We captured a lot of weapons."

On Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued an appeal to Iraqi Kurds to take action against the PKK, whose militants are reportedly hiding out in camps in the mountains of northern Iraq.

Ankara charges that thousands of PKK rebels easily obtain weapons and explosives in northern Iraq for attacks on Turkish targets across the border.

The Iraqi authorities have repeatedly pledged efforts to curb the PKK, but say the group’s hideouts are in mountainous regions where access is difficult.

Massud Barzani, president of the autonomous Kurdish administration in Iraq, condemned Friday’s raid and said it did not serve the interests of anyone seeking peace and stability in the region.

"The presidency of Kurdistan strongly rejects this operation and expresses its concern about the negative consequences of such irresponsible acts," his office said in a weekend statement.

"We have said many times that violent military action does not yield results. This operation does not help any party in reaching peace and security."

The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms for Kurdish self-rule in the southeast in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 44,000 lives.


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