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14 Killed in Clashes, Helicopter Crash in Southeast Turkey

  • VOA News

People watch the Thursday's explosion site in Sarikamis district outside Diyarbakir, Turkey, Friday, May 13, 2016.

People watch the Thursday's explosion site in Sarikamis district outside Diyarbakir, Turkey, Friday, May 13, 2016.

Eight Turkish soldiers and six members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were killed Friday in clashes in the largely Kurdish region of southeast Turkey, a Turkish military statement said.

Six soldiers were killed and eight were wounded when clashes broke out with rebels in Hakkari province on Friday. Two additional soldiers died when a military helicopter sent to the area later crashed due to a technical fault.

Meanwhile, four suspected bombmakers were killed near Diyarbakir late Thursday, Turkish interior ministry officials said.

Security officials said the blast occurred when PKK militants were loading the explosives onto a truck.

The late-night explosion occurred hours after at least seven people were injured in a car-bomb attack near a military facility in a suburb of the capital, Istanbul.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the car-bomb attack.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and its allies, has waged a decades-long insurgency for greater autonomy for Turkey's Kurds.

Clashes have increased between Turkish troops and militants in the southeast since July 2015, when a two-year cease-fire between Ankara and Kurdish separatists broke down. The area has seen some of the worst fighting since the height of the insurgency in the 1990s.

The conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1984.

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