Crisis meeting as rebels kill Turkish soldiers

Turkey’s military and civilian leaders held an emergency meeting today to discuss escalating attacks by Kurdish guerrillas.

Rebels have killed eight soldiers and one village guard in the latest reported clash in south-eastern Turkey.

The meeting between high military, civilian, police and intelligence officials was called after the clash late last night in Siirt province, the prime minister’s office announced.

Turkish troops, reinforced by helicopter gunships, were pursuing the guerillas in the rugged region near the town of Eruh.

The clash increased the number of Turkish soldiers killed by Kurdish guerrillas to 13 since Thursday, when five soldiers were killed in the explosion of a land mine, believed to have been planted by the guerrillas.

The guerrillas have also gunned down a policeman and two Turkish non-commissioned officers in separate attacks in the south-east over the past week.

In other violence today, troops killed one Kurdish rebel in a clash in Bingol province, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

Kurdish guerrillas belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, have stepped up attacks recently in their war for autonomy, which has claimed more than 37,000 lives since 1984. The rebels operate in small bands in the country’s southeast and have their main bases in neighbouring Iraq.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU.

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