ANKARA (Reuters) - Clashes between Kurdish militants and security forces in eastern Turkey killed at least four people on Saturday in the latest flare up of violence since the collapse in July of a two-year-old ceasefire.
One civilian was killed and a district official from the ruling AK Party was wounded by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in Semdinli district of Hakkari province, close to Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Iran, security sources said.
The attack happened after a car carrying the two victims refused to stop at a roadblock thrown up by the outlawed PKK, and the militants opened fire.
In the town of Cizre, two people were killed in clashes between security forces and suspected PKK militants, according to the town’s mayor, Leyla Imret.
“Many others are wounded,” she told a Kurdish TV station, without giving further details. Gunfire and explosions were heard in the town on Saturday.
Clashes between Turkish troops and the militants, who have bases in the mountains of nearby northern Iraq, have become a daily occurrence since the ceasefire fell apart, leaving peace negotiations to end the 30-year-old insurgency in tatters.
Authorities on Friday imposed a curfew in Cizre district in a bid to disrupt the PKK, local media reported.
Separately, a girl caught in the crossfire on Friday when PKK militants attacked a police station in the eastern town of Tunceli, died of her injuries, security forces said on Saturday.
A policeman was also killed in the attack, whilst a video of the assault posted on the website of the pro-government Daily Sabah apparently showed two PKK fighters being shot dead by security forces.
The tit-for-tat violence sweeping eastern Turkey since July has killed at least 70 members of the security forces and hundreds of PKK militants, officials say.
It has also deepened a sense of political unease gripping the country, which is currently being governed by an interim administration after AK Party lost its parliamentary majority in June. Coalition talks failed and new elections are due Nov. 1.
The Turkish government accuses the PKK of ramping up its attacks and repeatedly breaching the now defunct ceasefire. The PKK, which is pushing for greater Kurdish rights, is on European and U.S. terror lists.
Critics of President Tayyip Erdogan accuse him of using the renewed violence to scare voters away from the Kurdish-focused HDP, which strongly outperformed expectations in June’s elections.
Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan, writing by Jonny Hogg; Editing by Ros Russell