DEATH TOLL IN KURDISH CLASHES WITH TURKISH SOLDIERS REACHES 26
- Turkish soldiers and Kurdish militants clashed on Tuesday, June 19 in the most intense battles of the separatist conflict this year, with 26 combatants killed in fighting at three army outposts in the southeast, officials and security sources said, according to Reuters.
Up to 100 fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) launched simultaneous dawn attacks on three military observation points in Hakkari province near Turkey's mountainous border with Iraq, killing eight soldiers and wounding 19, the sources said.
In subsequent clashes, Turkish troops killed 18 PKK fighters, the prime minister's office said.
The attacks come at a time when Turkey is making new efforts to address the grievances of the Kurdish minority to end a conflict that has scarred the region for three decades.
The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), whose members are frequently accused of ties to the rebels, made a striking call for the PKK to halt hostilities.
The PKK fighters used rocket launchers and rifles at the start of the attacks and operations were continuing against the militants, the sources said. The militants were believed to have crossed the border from nearby northern Iraq.
Several thousand PKK militants are based in mountain hideouts in northern Iraq, from where they regularly launch attacks on state targets in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey.
Armed forces chief General Necdet Ozel rushed to the region, along with the commanders of the ground forces and paramilitary gendarmerie, Turkish media reported. The interior minister and a deputy prime minister also headed there.
- 1861 Birth of the Norwegian Friedhof Nansen (public figure). He died in 1930 after helping countless Armenian refugees, who had survived the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Turks. He created the "Nansen Passport" for these stateless refugees.
- 1911 Death of Petros Simonian, national figure, publicist in Tbilisi and editor of the "Meghoo Hayastanee" periodical.
- 1918 The first Armenian delegation arrived in Constantinople to start reconciliation talks with Turkey.
- 1935 Opening of the State Historical Museum of Armenia in Yerevan.
- 1954 Death of Smbat Boroyan, participant in the 1921 February rebellion and the volunteer movement of the Sassoon rebellion of 1904. He was born in 1882.
- 2001 Death of Sargis Baghdasarian, sculptor, artist and teacher. His "We are our mountains" - "Gharabaghthsiner" sculpture (1967) became a symbol of the national movement of Artsakh. He was born in 1923.