A Turkish soldier was killed in action on Sunday in clashes with insurgents (“terrorists” called by Ankara) from the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as the offensive of the turkish military in Northern Iraq is still evolving, the defense ministry said in a statement.
The turkish MoD announced that the soldier “fell as a martyr during clashes with terrorists in the Operation ‘Claw-Tiger’ in Iraq”, without specifying the area where the fighting occurred.
Turkey launched on June 17 a combined air and ground offensive against the PKK, which has fought an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 under the leadership of Abdullah Öcalan. PKK is being listed as a terror group by Ankara and most of its Western allies.
The turkish forces frequently conduct small as well as large scale operations against the PKK insurgents and hideouts in southeast Turkey and their rear bases established in Iraq.
The latest offensive has sparked protests from Iraq which has summoned the Turkish envoy in Baghdad twice over the operation.
In addition, local Kurdish officials in northern Iraq say at least five civilians have been killed since the operation began nearly two weeks ago.
However, Turkey says its target is the PKK and that its army has done everything in its capacity to avoid civilian casualties and attacks on civilian targets.