BEIRUT

Middle East

Kurdish militants say kill Turkish soldier despite ceasefire

Kurdish people discuss with Turkish military officers on June 28, 2013 at Lice in Diyarbakir. AFP PHOTO/STR

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Kurdish militants said on Thursday they killed a soldier in southeast Turkey in retaliation for the killing of a Kurdish protester last week, breaking a three-month ceasefire.

Turkish officials denied such an incident occurred.

If true, it would be the first fatal militant attack in the mainly Kurdish southeast since the Kurdistan Workers Party's (PKK) jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, declared a ceasefire in March as part of a peace process with Ankara.

The PKK said in a statement its fighters carried out the attack on a military outpost in the Hani district of Diyarbakir province on Wednesday. However, the Diyarbakir governor's office and military sources told Reuters the report was untrue.

Last Friday, an 18-year-old Kurdish man was shot dead and nine people were wounded as they came under fire during a protest against the construction of a gendarmerie outpost in Diyarbakir province.

PKK militants began withdrawing from Turkish territory to bases in northern Iraq in May as part of a deal between the state and Ocalan, imprisoned on an island south of Istanbul since 1999, to end a conflict that has killed 40,000 people.

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, took up arms against the state in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state, but subsequently moderated its goal to autonomy.

 

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