Turkish Troops Kill 5 Kurdish Rebels
ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish troops killed five Kurdish rebels in a clash in the country's southeast Tuesday, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
Separately, it said a Turkish court convicted a Kurdish lawmaker of spreading rebel propaganda.
The fighting occurred near the southeastern city of Bingol. One soldier and two civilians were also injured, Anatolia said.
Last week the rebels, who have been fighting for autonomy in the country's Kurdish-dominated southeast, sent a small group of Kurdish guerrillas to Turkey from their hideouts in Iraq in a peace gesture in response to a government initiative to try to end the conflict by expanding Kurds' democratic and human rights.
But celebrations upon their arrival by thousands of Kurds angered the government and nationalists across the country, threatening to derail the process.
Also on Tuesday, a Turkish court sentenced Aysel Tugluk to 18 months in prison for spreading rebel propaganda. Because she is a member of parliament, she will not have to serve the time until she is out of office, or until parliament votes to lift her immunity.
Tugluk, 44, said she was innocent and will appeal Tuesday's conviction for a 2006 speech she made praising a petition by hundreds of Kurds declaring imprisoned rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan their leader.
The case was one of several against Tugluk and other members of her Democratic Society Party, which faces closure for alleged ties to Ocalan's outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party, or PKK.
The PKK is considered a terrorist group by the U.S. and the EU.