Turkish military clashes with outlawed PKK militants in southeast

The Turkish military exchanged fire with outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in southeast Turkey on Wednesday in a rare violation of a two-year-old ceasefire, part of a peace process between the militants and Ankara The clash occurred four days after jailed PKK leader Abdullah calan said the group’s 30-year insurgency against Turkey had become “unsustainable” and urged it to hold a congress on laying down its weapons.

The Turkish military exchanged fire with outlawed Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party (PKK) militants in southeast Turkey on Wednesday in a rare violation of a two-year-old ceasefire, part of a peace process between the militants and Ankara

The clash occurred four days after jailed PKK leader Abdullah andOumlcalan said the groupand#39s 30-year insurgency against Turkey had become andquotunsustainableandquot and urged it to hold a congress on laying down its weapons.

The lira weakened against the dollar due to concern about the ceasefire breaking down. The authority of President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, whose Justice and Development Party (AK Party) faces important elections in June, is to some extent linked to the success of the peace process he initiated despite the resistance of nationalist forces.

The Turkish armed forces fired artillery and mortar shells at PKK positions in the DaIlIca area of Hakkari province near the Iraqi border in retaliation for the PKK firing three mortar shells, the General Staff said in a statement on its website.

It said the militants then opened fire with machine guns on Turkish troops, but there were no reports of casualties.

andquotOur elements in the region immediately returned fire at the terrorist shooting,andquot the statement said, adding that security measures at its bases in the region were subsequently tightened.

andOumlcalan, who has been jailed on an island south of Istanbul since 1999, launched peace talks with now-President ErdoIanand#39s government in 2012 to end a conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people, but progress has been faltering.

Turkey has fought the terrorist PKK since 1984, when it was set up with the goal of establishing an autonomous Kurdish state in eastern and southeastern Turkey. The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the international community including the US and the EU.

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SOURCE: Today’s Zaman