ANKARA, Turkey, (AP) – A Turkish news agency reported Friday that army troops clashed with Kurdish rebels in the southeast and that 10 of the rebels were killed.
Dogan news agency said the clashes occurred on Mount Kato, in the predominantly Kurdish province of Sirnak, which borders Iraq. The report, which could not immediately be confirmed, also said a village guard — armed and paid by the government to help troops fight the rebels — was killed in the violence.
The rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, have been fighting for self-rule in southeast Turkey since 1984. The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people.
The rebels abducted three German climbers on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey on Tuesday and said they would not release them until Berlin put an end to a crackdown on the guerrilla group in Germany. The German government called for the immediate and unconditional release of the kidnapped Germans.
Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist organization.
Earlier in the year, Turkish war planes carried out several strikes on suspected rebel targets across the border in northern Iraq, where thousands of rebels have their main bases. In February ground troops also crossed the border for an eight-day long incursion to hunt down rebels.