Two Turkish soldiers have been killed in clashes with the members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the southeastern province of Hakkari. The two men were killed when the security forces and the PKK rebels exchanged fire on Sunday near the Ortaklar village of Semdinli town in the Hakkari province, the semiofficial Anatolia news agency reported. The report said that possibly some PKK members were also killed during the large-scale military operation against the rebels. The Turkish warplanes also participated in the operation, it added. PKK fighters launch their attacks from Iraq's Qandil Mountains in the areas controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government. The Turkish military has been conducting airstrikes and artillery attacks on PKK positions in northern Iraq since it started a series of air raids on the militants' bases in December 2007 and a weeklong ground operation in February 2008.
The PKK has been fighting for an independent Kurdish region inside Turkey since the early 1980s.Over 40,000 people have lost their lives since the PKK launched its armed campaign against Ankara in 1984. GJH/AS