ANKARA, TURKEY (BNO NEWS) -- Kurdish militants attacked army outposts in southeastern Turkey on Tuesday morning, killing eight Turkish soldiers and wounding more than a dozen others, military officials said. Eighteen militants were killed in a military counter-operation.
The attacks took place during the early morning hours when members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attacked Turkish soldiers in the Daglica area of Hakkari province, which is along the Iraqi border. Two separate groups of militants carried out the attack, the first one at 3 a.m. local time targeting the Dağlıca outpost and the second at 5 a.m. local time in Yeşiltaş.
The Turkish military confirmed eight of its soldiers were killed while sixteen others were injured, although their conditions were not immediately known. Security forces later launched a counter-operation to find those responsible for the attack, killing eighteen suspected PKK militants.
Turkish President Abdullah Gül strongly condemned the attacks and said the militant group is trying to derail efforts to find a political solution to the problem. "I condemn this treacherous attack," he said. "This terrorist organization wants to sabotage the atmosphere of trust and stability and is continuing its inhumane bloody attacks."
U.S. Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone, Jr. also condemned the attack and said the United States will continue to stand with the Turkish government in their fight against the PKK. "No political cause, and no religion, can justify terrorism," he said. "On behalf of the United States and the American people, I send heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the fallen."
The PKK, which has been labeled as a terrorist organizations by the United States, Turkey and the European Union, was established in 1984 in its efforts to establish the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey as an autonomous Kurdish state. Over 40,000 soldiers and civilians have been killed in violent clashes since the group took arms. The PKK maintains its military bases across the Iraqi border.
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