Turkey's military says eight Turkish security force members and five Kurdish militants were killed in a clash near Turkey's border with northern Iraq.

A military statement said the skirmish erupted early on Thursday near the town of Semdinli, after the security forces spotted a group of rebels who were allegedly preparing to launch an attack.

The military said the dead included two government-paid village guard aiding troops in the fight against the rebels. Two soldiers were also hurt in the clashes.

The clashes were continuing.

The rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, have waged a three-decade long insurgency in southeast Turkey. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people.

Violence flared again in 2015 after the collapse of a two-year peace process.