Eleven killed in attack, clashes with Kurdish rebels in Turkey

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State media says eight soldiers were also injured in the attack by the 'separatist terror organisation,' a reference to the PKK

Honour guards carry the portrait and coffin of Eyup Oksuz, a 21-year-old Turkish soldier killed in an attack blamed on Kurdish militants in the eastern city of Van (AFP)
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Monday 5 September 2016 8:42 UTC
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Militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) killed 10 Turkish soldiers and a village guardsman in two separate incidents in Turkey, state media reported on Saturday.

Eight Turkish soldiers were killed during clashes with rebels in the eastern province of Van on Friday, the governor's office said, quoted by state-run news agency Anadolu.

Eight soldiers were also injured in the same operation against the "separatist terror organisation," the term Turkey used for the PKK, Anadolu reported.

Late on Friday, two soldiers and a village guard were killed in an attack on a checkpoint in Mardin in the restive southeast blamed on the PKK, the agency reported.

The guard killed was part of a group of local residents who cooperate with Turkish security forces against the PKK, listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies. Three security guards were also wounded.

In a statement, the Van governor's office said the condition of those in hospital was "good" although their treatment continued.

Thirteen PKK fighters were killed by Turkish jets around the Tendurek mountains in Van province, the office said, while Anadolu reported that the operation supported by the air force continued.

Since the collapse of a two-year ceasefire in July, Anadolu reported that over 600 Turkish security force members have been killed by the PKK in renewed fighting.

The government has responded with military operations against the group, killing more than 7,000 militants in Turkey and northern Iraq, the agency said. It is not possible to independently verify the toll.

Activists claim innocent civilians have also been killed in the offensives.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK first took up arms in 1984.

On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said there could be no re-starting of the peace process previously initiated by the government in 2013 and which collapsed in July 2015.

“The government will not make concessions on maintaining internal security. There is no settlement. The settlement is in the hands of citizens," he told reporters.

"They [the PKK] missed that chance. We will save the Kurdish people from terror. The terror organisation has no Kurdish problem; but the Kurdish people have a PKK problem."