26 soldiers killed in clashes in SE Turkey

Twenty-six people died last night in clashes between alleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and security forces in Hakkari province in Southeast Turkey, NTV reported. Around 20 more are injured.

The clashes began around 1 a.m. last night and lasted through the morning. The attackers were reported to have hit eight targets simultaneously.

Most of the targets were known to have been near the border posts.  The clashes are still continuing in the area.

The death toll is reported to be the biggest single death toll for Turkish security forces in years.

Chief of Staff Gen. Necdet Özel, and the commanders of the Land Forces, Air Forces and Naval Forces flew to the area immediately.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan cancelled a planned visit to Kazakhstan after the attacks, sources in his office said. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also cancelled his planned visit to Serbia.

The attacks come only a day after five policemen and three civilians, including a 2-year-old girl, were killed in a roadside bomb attack planted by suspected Kurdish militants in nearby Bitlis province.

The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011