Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


The BBC's Chris Morris reports
"Much of the old fire has gone"
 real 28k

Monday, 14 February, 2000, 18:15 GMT
Turkish police in shoot-out with militants

Map of Turkey


Five Turkish policemen and up to five Islamic militants were killed in a shoot-out in the eastern city of Van early on Monday.

It was the bloodiest clash since the authorities began a nationwide crackdown last month against an extremists Hizbullah group which aims to set up an Islamic state in the southeastern Turkey.



There were losses among the police - it's serious.
Saadettin Tantan, Interior minister
The shoot-out began after police acting on a tip-off surrounded a suspected Hizbullah hideout.

According to a police spokesman, the call to surrender was ignored, and two policemen were killed in the ensuing shootout.

Three other policemen and three militants were shot dead in a second raid after police hunted down a fleeing militant.

One militant was injured and another managed to escape in a raid on another suspected hideout.

Interior Minister Saadettin Tantan later told Anatolia news agency that "there were losses among the police during the shootout - it's serious".

Victims

Police have carried out many such raids in recent weeks, but this was the first gunbattle between the two sides since the killing of the leader of the group's most militant wing. The leader, Huseyin Velioglu, was killed and two high-ranking commanders arrested following a mid-January shootout in Istanbul.

Authorities have detained more than 1,000 suspected militants, and unearthed more than 50 bodies of presumed victims of the group during their crackdown.

Pictures of the corpses, supposedly tortured to death and buried in backyards and basements, have shocked the country.

The secretive Turkish Hizbullah group seeking to set up a state based on strict Sharia Islamic law grew up in the late 1980s in southeast Turkey. It was founded with an initial aim of countering the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which had been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in the region.

Its first victims were supporters of Abdullah Ocalan's Kurdish rebel separatists, leading many to accuse them of being state-backed "contra-guerrillas", a charge Turkish authorities strenuously deny.

Turkish Hizbullah is not believed to be associated with the Lebanese guerrilla group of the same name.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Europe Contents

Country profiles

See also:
17 Jan 00 |  Europe
Gun battle in Istanbul
19 Jan 00 |  Europe
Turkish businessmen found dead

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories