(HN, October 19, 2011) The Turkish government has reported that at least 26 Turkish soldiers have been killed in clashes with Kurdish rebels at police and army posts in south-eastern Turkey.
The attacks, in the mainly Kurdish province of Hakkari, are thought to have inflicted the biggest loss on Turkish security forces in years.
The attacks come a day after a blast in the south-east Bitlis province killed five police officers and three others.
In response, Turkish troops are reported to have crossed into northern Iraq where the rebels are based.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul had recently visited troops in the region in an effort to boost morale in an area that has recently seen an increase in violence by Kurdish rebels.
President Gul has vowed a "great vengeance".
So far, Turkey has responded to this attack with a police crackdown on suspected rebel sympathisers and air strikes on Kurdish sites in northern Iraq.
Rebels are seeking greater autonomy in the country's Kurdish-dominated south-east, and have killed dozens of members of the country's security forces, and at least 17 civilians, since mid-July.
Security sources say Turkish planes are bombing Kurdish rebel bases in northern Iraq, while local news sources say soldiers have also entered the area.
"No-one should forget that those who make us suffer this pain will be made to suffer even stronger," President Gul told reporters. "They will see that the vengeance for these attacks will be great."
- HUMNEWS Staff