Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 12:36 UK

Five dead as Turkey battles PKK

Turkish troops in anti-PKK operation (file pic)
Sirnak province regularly sees Turkey-PKK clashes

Two Turkish soldiers and three Kurdish rebels have died in clashes in south-eastern Turkey, near the border with Iraq, security officials say.

The fighting took place on Sunday during an operation against the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Sirnak province, the Turkish officials said.

Turkey has launched repeated air and land attacks in the region, targeting PKK rebels based in northern Iraq.

The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule since 1984.

A PKK spokeswoman, Sozdar Avesta, has demanded a ceasefire in the Mount Ararat area, further north, where the PKK is holding three German tourists hostage.

She said "the PKK is ready to release the three German tourists on condition that Turkey halts its military attacks in the area where they were captured". They were snatched last Wednesday.

The hostages were being held in protest at German pressure on PKK supporters in Germany, she said, adding: "We urge the German government to undertake a new policy towards the Kurds".

Ms Avesta, speaking in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq, said an international organisation such as the Red Cross should facilitate the hostages' release.

More than 30,000 people have died since the PKK began fighting for self-rule. Turkey, the EU and US consider it to be a terrorist organisation.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific