Turkey: 5 die in latest clashes between security forces and PKK rebels



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Turkish police officers carry the coffin of slain police officer Serdar Kazar, one of the two police officers, killed in an attack by Kurdish rebels overnight, in the the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Friday, July 31, 2015. Turkish officials say Kurdish rebels have attacked a police station in southern Turkey, killing two policemen amid renewed violence between the security forces and the Kurdish insurgents. Two rebels were also killed in a gunfight that ensued. Violence has flared in Turkey in the past week, shattering a fragile peace process launched in 2012 with the Kurds. The government has launched aerial strikes against bases of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq and the rebels have escalated attacks against Turkey's security forces. Meanwhile, Turkey has also started to crack down on the Islamic State extremist group. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)


Turkish police officers carry the coffin of slain police officers Serdar Kazar and Isa Ipek, killed in an attack by Kurdish rebels overnight, in the the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Friday, July 31, 2015. Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK rebels raided a police station in the town of Pozanti, in southern Adana province, late on Thursday, killing two policemen. Two rebels were also killed in a gunfight that ensued. Violence has sharply increased in Turkey in the past week, with the government launching aerial strikes against PKK bases in northern Iraq, and the rebels escalating attacks against Turkey's security forces. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)


Mourners pay their respects over the Turkish flag-draped coffin of slain police officer Isa Ipek, one of the two police officers, killed in an attack by Kurdish rebels overnight, in the the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Friday, July 31, 2015. Turkish officials say Kurdish rebels have attacked a police station in southern Turkey, killing two policemen amid renewed violence between the security forces and the Kurdish insurgents. Two rebels were also killed in a gunfight that ensued. Violence has flared in Turkey in the past week, shattering a fragile peace process launched in 2012 with the Kurds. The government has launched aerial strikes against bases of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq and the rebels have escalated attacks against Turkey's security forces. Meanwhile, Turkey has also started to crack down on the Islamic State extremist group. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)


Relatives cry during the funeral of two police officers, killed in an attack by Kurdish rebels overnight, in the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Friday, July 31, 2015. Turkish officials say Kurdish rebels have attacked a police station in southern Turkey, killing two policemen amid renewed violence between the security forces and the Kurdish insurgents. Two rebels were also killed in a gunfight that ensued. Violence has flared in Turkey in the past week, shattering a fragile peace process launched in 2012 with the Kurds. The government has launched aerial strikes against bases of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq and the rebels have escalated attacks against Turkey's security forces. Meanwhile, Turkey has also started to crack down on the Islamic State extremist group. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)


A relative cries over the Turkish flag-draped coffin of slain police officer Isa Ipek, one of the two police officers, killed in an attack by Kurdish rebels overnight, in the the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Friday, July 31, 2015. Kurdish rebels have attacked a police station in southern Turkey, killing two policemen amid renewed violence between the security forces and the Kurdish insurgents. Two rebels were also killed in a gunfight that ensued. Violence has flared in Turkey in the past week, shattering a fragile peace process launched in 2012 with the Kurds. The government has launched aerial strikes against bases of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq and the rebels have escalated attacks against Turkey's security forces. Meanwhile, Turkey has also started to crack down on the Islamic State extremist group. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)


Turkish police officers carry the Turkish flag-draped coffin of slain police officer Serdar Kazar, one of the two police officers, killed in an attack by Kurdish rebels overnight, in the the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Friday, July 31, 2015. Kurdish rebels have attacked a police station in southern Turkey, killing two policemen amid renewed violence between the security forces and the Kurdish insurgents. Two rebels were also killed in a gunfight that ensued. Violence has flared in Turkey in the past week, shattering a fragile peace process launched in 2012 with the Kurds. The government has launched aerial strikes against bases of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq and the rebels have escalated attacks against Turkey's security forces. Meanwhile, Turkey has also started to crack down on the Islamic State extremist group. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)


Relatives cry during the funeral of two police officers, killed in an attack by Kurdish rebels overnight,in the the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Friday, July 31, 2015. Turkish officials say Kurdish rebels have attacked a police station in southern Turkey, killing two policemen amid renewed violence between the security forces and the Kurdish insurgents. Two rebels were also killed in a gunfight that ensued. Violence has flared in Turkey in the past week, shattering a fragile peace process launched in 2012 with the Kurds. The government has launched aerial strikes against bases of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq and the rebels have escalated attacks against Turkey's security forces. Meanwhile, Turkey has also started to crack down on the Islamic State extremist group. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)


Relatives cry during the funeral of two police officers, killed in an attack by Kurdish rebels overnight, in the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Friday, July 31, 2015. Kurdish rebels have attacked a police station in southern Turkey, killing two policemen amid renewed violence between the security forces and the Kurdish insurgents. Two rebels were also killed in a gunfight that ensued. Violence has flared in Turkey in the past week, shattering a fragile peace process launched in 2012 with the Kurds. The government has launched aerial strikes against bases of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq and the rebels have escalated attacks against Turkey's security forces. Meanwhile, Turkey has also started to crack down on the Islamic State extremist group. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)


Turkish Air Force fighter planes land at Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Thursday, July 30, 2015. After months of reluctance, Turkish warplanes last week started striking militant targets in Syria and agreed to allow the U.S. to launch its own strikes from Turkey's strategically located Incirlik Air Base. In a series of cross-border strikes, Turkey has not only targeted the IS group but also Kurdish fighters affiliated with forces battling IS in Syria and northern Iraq and Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK positions within Turkey. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)


An unmanned aerial vehicle maneuvers on the runway after it landed at the Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Thursday, July 30, 2015. After months of reluctance, Turkish warplanes last week started striking militant targets in Syria and agreed to allow the U.S. to launch its own strikes from Turkey's strategically located Incirlik Air Base. In a series of cross-border strikes, Turkey has not only targeted the IS group but also Kurdish fighters affiliated with forces battling IS in Syria and northern Iraq and Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK positions within Turkey. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)


ANKARA, Turkey — Kurdish rebels raided a Turkish police station and fired on railway workers in two separate attacks that left five dead, officials said Friday, amid renewed conflict between the security forces and insurgents that has wrecked a fragile peace process.

Violence has sharply increased in Turkey in the past week, with the government launching aerial strikes against Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, bases in northern Iraq, and the rebels escalating attacks against Turkey's security forces. Some 20 people, most of them soldiers, have died in the renewed violence.

PKK militants raided the police station in the town of Pozanti, in southern Adana province, late on Thursday, killing two policemen and touching off a gunfight that also killed two rebels, said Gov. Mustafa Buyuk. He said the rebels were armed with automatic rifles and hand grenades.

In the eastern province of Kars, the rebels detonated a bomb they placed on rail tracks and later fired on rail workers who were sent to repair the line, the region's deputy governor, Adem Unal, told the state-run Anadolu Agency. One of the workers was killed.

Turkey last week conducted air assaults on Islamic State group targets and also opened its air bases for sorties by the U.S.-led coalition fighting the group. The decision came after a suicide bombing blamed on IS killed 32 people and militants fired on Turkish troops, killing a soldier.

But Turkey shifted focus to the PKK following an attack claimed by the rebels that killed two policemen. That is complicating the U.S. war on IS militants, which has relied heavily on Syrian Kurdish fighters affiliated with Turkey's Kurdish rebels.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said Turkey's onslaught against the PKK will continue until its fighters lay down arms, despite calls from Turkey's main pro-Kurdish political party for the resumption of peace efforts. On Thursday, Davutoglu vowed renewed strikes against IS militants if the group attacks Turkish targets again.

"A single shot fired at our soldiers will result in the destruction of all those who fired the shot, until no one dares again to conduct such a thing at our border," Davutoglu said. "These operations will continue until all arms are laid down and armed (fighters) leave the country, and until (IS) stops being a threat."

The Kurdish party's co-chairman renewed his plea for peace on Friday, as Turkey began holding funerals for the two officers killed in the police station attack and three soldiers who were slain in southeast Turkey on Thursday.

"The dialogue — slow as it was — must resume," Selahattin Demirtas said in televised comments. "Fingers must be removed from the trigger."

Meanwhile, Turkey hit back at Iraqi criticism that its air raids against the PKK had breached its sovereignty.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement expressed "disappointment" toward Iraq's "negative" stance, which it said, came despite Turkey's support to Baghdad in its fight against IS. It also accused Iraq of failing to keep to a pledge to prevent PKK attacks on Turkey from its territory.

Kurdish activists and government critics say Turkey's toughened stance against the PKK is a tactic aimed at strengthening the ruling party and attracting nationalist votes ahead of possible new elections in November. Davutoglu's Justice and Development party lost its parliamentary majority in June and has until Aug. 24 to form a coalition government, otherwise new elections will be called.

The PKK, considered a terror organization by Turkey and its Western allies, launched its armed campaign for autonomy in Turkey's southeast in 1984. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since then.

The Kurds declared a cease-fire in 2013 as part of the peace efforts, but halted a planned withdrawal of fighters from Turkish territory, accusing the government of not keeping promises.

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