A Turkish army captain has been killed in an attack on a military outpost blamed on Kurdish PKK militants. The government has vowed to keep up its military campaign against the group, which has left a truce in tatters.
The captain died of his wounds after an attack on a military outpost in Beytussebap district in southeastern Sirnak province late on Friday, a Turkish army statement issued Saturday said.
The army said the attack, in which two other soldiers were wounded, was carried out by the “Separatist Terror Organization,” the title it gives to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, to which it never refers by name.
Security sources says the militant raid with rocket launchers and assault rifles triggered an hour-long firefight.
In a separate incident reported by the official Anatolia news agency on Saturday, a police water cannon vehicle was damaged and a policeman injured after suspected PKK militants threw two bombs outside the regional headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir. The city is home to a Kurdish majority.
The attacks come amid almost daily violence directed against the Turkish armed forces by the PKK rebels in response to a largely aerial government offensive against bastions of the group in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq. More than 50 members of the security forces have been killed so far in attacks blamed on the group, but the government has pledged to keep up its campaign.
In another statement on Saturday, the army said it had killed 41 PKK militants in air strikes and ground operations over the past two days in both Turkey and Iraq, in addition to the 771 reportedly killed previous to that. The figures cannot be independently verified.
The PKK has been waging an insurgency against the government in Ankara for more than three decades in an attempt to win more rights for Turkey’s Kurdish minority. Tens of thousands of people have lost their lives in the conflict.
The current goverment military campaign against the group has put a sudden end to a fragile ceasefire in place since 2013.
Although neither side has officially declared an end to an ongoing peace process, there are concerns that much of the violence stems from Kurdish youth groups and factions that are acting independently.
The growing violence comes at an akward time for the country, with Turkey facing a snap election in November after the ruling AKP party lost its majority in June elections for the first time since coming to power more than ten years ago.