WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Monday condemned deadly attacks apparently carried out by Kurdish rebels in southeast Turkey and vowed support for efforts by Turkey to stop the violence.
Turkish military officials said Kurdish rebels killed 13 Turkish soldiers in fighting on Sunday in Sirnak province, which borders Iraq.
Twelve civilians were killed on September 29 when Kurdish rebels ambushed their minibus.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement that the United States condemned the attacks and stood with the Turkish people.
“The United States is committed to working with Turkey to combat the PKK and other terrorist groups,” McCormack said, using the initials of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party.
“We will continue to cooperate with the Turkish government to neutralize the PKK terrorist threat.”
Some 3,000 Kurdish rebel fighters are based in northern Iraq and launch attacks on security and civilian targets in Turkish territory. Thousands of PKK rebels are also believed to be inside Turkey, which is seeking European Union membership.
The State department spokesman said the violence not only threatens Turkey, but also undermines the security of Iraq.
“We call on Iraqi authorities to take effective measures against the PKK,” McCormack said. “We stand ready to support in every appropriate way efforts by Turkey and Iraq to protect their citizens and stop this terrorist violence.”