ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish security forces fought Kurdish rebels near Turkey's border with Iraq, killing as many as 75 militants in weeklong clashes, officials said Friday. Four soldiers were also killed.
The governor's office in the border province of Hakkari said the clashes occurred there, where the military said it has launched a large-scale operation involving seven battalions — or several thousands of troops. Last month, the government said troops had killed 115 Kurdish rebels in separate fighting there.
The governor's office provided no other detail on the clashes but said troops would continue to battle "terrorist activities" in the region.
The rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, are fighting for self-rule in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast region and maintain bases in northern Iraq from where they launch attacks on Turkish targets.
The conflict between the PKK and the security forces has killed tens of thousands of people since the rebels took up arms in 1984. The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
Turkey has raised concerns that the Kurdish rebels could now exploit the power vacuum in neighboring Syria and has warned it would not tolerate any rebel threats from Syrian territory.
There has been a surge in attacks by the PKK in recent months and the military announced this week that 88 soldiers and 330 rebels had been killed in the conflict in the past nine months.