Turkish Troops, Kurdish Rebels Clash In SE Turkey
Turkish Troops, Kurdish Rebels Clash in Southeastern Turkey
Turkish media say troops have killed 15 Kurdish rebels during fighting in eastern Turkey. Information on government casualties was not immediately available.
Authorities say the clash occurred Sunday in the (mostly Kurdish) province of Tunceli, which is not near the Iraq border where other recent fighting has taken place.
Turkey's foreign minister says all options are still open in the fight against the Kurdish rebels, who have bases in northern Iraq.
Ali Babacan spoke during a visit to neighboring Iran. He thanked Iran for its help against the Kurdistan Workers' Party and said he discussed continuing Turkish-Iranian cooperation.
Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, accused the United States and Israel of supporting some Kurdish terrorist activities in the region.
Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki, right, meets with Turkish FM Ali Babacan, left, in Baghdad, 23 Oct 2007
Ankara is threatening a military incursion into northern Iraq to attack PKK rebels, who killed 13 Turkish soldiers last Sunday in southeastern Turkey.
Turkish leaders have rejected Iraqi proposals for dealing with the PKK in northern Iraq as insufficient.
Also today, Iranian state media say President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad strongly criticized the PKK in a telephone conversation with Turkish President Abdullah Gul. Mr. Ahmadinejad said terrorist activities by the PKK are harming the interests of Turkey, Iran and Iraq.
The office of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says he also discussed the PKK with Iran's president in a phone conversation. Mr. Maliki's office says the two leaders agreed on the need to confront PKK violence, but preferred to solve the crisis peacefully.
The European Union and the United States have urged Ankara to refrain from invading northern Iraq.
The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984. More than 30,000 people have died in the conflict.