ANKARA, Turkey – Hundreds of Kurdish activists clashed with police near the border with Iraq on Sunday, in skirmishes that led to one protester's death, reports said.
Police fired tear gas at the activists who gathered near the border in an attempt to cross the frontier and act as "human shields" against any possible renewed Turkish military airstrikes on suspected Kurdish rebel sites in northern Iraq, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
One activist died in hospital following the clash between the security forces and the stone-throwing activists in Hakkari province that borders Iraq, Anatolia said. The cause of death was not immediately known and Anatolia said authorities would conduct an autopsy.
Turkish warplanes carried out six days of aerial attacks on suspected Kurdish rebel positions across the border in northern Iraq earlier this month in retaliation for stepped up attacks by the rebels belonging to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
Turkey's military said some 100 rebels were killed in the cross-border airstrikes, a claim the PKK has denied.
Earlier, suspected Kurdish rebels exploded a roadside bomb in Hakkari as a military convoy was passing by, killing three soldiers and wounding two others.
The PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union, is fighting for autonomy in Turkey's mostly Kurdish southeast region.
The rebels maintain bases in northern Iraq from where they launch attacks on Turkish targets.
Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict since 1984.