September 16, 2012 / 9:18 AM / 7 years ago

Eight Turkish police killed in suspected PKK attack

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Eight Turkish police officers were killed and nine wounded when a roadside mine exploded in the Karliova district of Bingol in southern Turkey, security officials said on Sunday.

The mine was detonated by suspected Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants as a police bus was passing, officials said.

Suspected Kurdish separatists killed four Turkish soldiers and wounded five in an attack on a military convoy near the border with Iran and Iraq on Saturday.

The governor’s office in the southeastern province of Hakkari said Turkish armed forces had killed 123 Kurdish militants in the past ten days in a major offensive against PKK bases.

The past few months have seen some of the heaviest fighting since the outlawed PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state.

Also on Saturday suspected Kurdish militants wounded four security guards in an attack on a foreign oil exploration firm on the Mava mountain, north of Hasankeyf in Batman province, security officials told Reuters. It was not immediately possible to verify the name of the firm.

The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people, hampered economic development in one of Turkey’s poorest regions and added to instability in a fragile region bordering Iran, Iraq and Syria.

More than 700 people have been killed since a parliamentary election in June last year, making this the deadliest period since the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report this month.

Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan; Writing by Seda Sezer; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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