One killed in clashes in southeast Turkey
ANKARA - A man was shot dead as members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) clashed with Turkish security forces in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast, security sources said Friday.
The 40-year-old man was killed when he was caught in the crossfire of an armed clash between Turkish forces and the separatist PKK militants in the southeast city of Diyarbakir, the sources told AFP. A 29-year-old man was also wounded during clashes that erupted overnight after youths linked to the outlawed PKK opened fire with rifles at police attempting to clear a main road blocked by the militants.
Meanwhile, more than two thousand people took to the streets in Diyarbakir on Friday to protest the escalating cycle of violence that has left a 2013 ceasefire agreed by the PKK in tatters, an AFP reporter said. After a series of attacks in Turkey, Ankara has launched a two-pronged offensive to bomb Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and PKK rebels in northern Iraq and southeast Turkey.
So far, the operation has focused largely on the Kurdish rebels, who have responded by waging a bloody campaign against the security forces. According to an AFP toll, 31 members of the Turkish security forces have since died in attacks blamed on the PKK. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday vowed that Turkey would press on with its relentless campaign against Kurdish militants, saying the operations were not "temporary."
"You shall not think they are strong... They are doomed to fail," Erdogan told supporters in his ancestral hometown in Turkey's Black Sea Rize province. Turkish authorities arrested more than 1,700 suspects since late last month in police raids nationwide targeting suspected members of the PKK as well as IS and the Marxist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party Front (DHKP-C), state-run Anatolia news agency said.
On Friday, police detained at least 39 suspected terrorists in raids in several Turkish cities including Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, Anatolia said.