Kurdish militants attack Turkish outpost, 13 killed

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey Tue Jan 8, 2013 10:35am GMT

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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Twelve Kurdish militants and one Turkish soldier were killed in clashes along the Turkey-Iraq border after the militants opened fire from inside Iraq on a remote outpost in southeast Turkey, security sources said on Tuesday.

The attack coincides with efforts to end a near three-decade insurgency through talks with the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group.

A group of PKK militants, located in northern Iraq about 8 km (5 miles) from Cukurca, a remote and mountainous border district in Turkey's Hakkari province, opened fire on the Karatas military outpost on Monday night, the sources said.

Turkish security forces fired mortars at the militants who were using the area's thick fog and snowfall as cover, they said. One Turkish soldier was killed in the initial attack and 12 rebels were killed by the return fire.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict between Turkey and the PKK. The militants began fighting in 1984 with the aim of carving out a separate state in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey. They now seek autonomy in the region.

The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

(Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan; Writing by Jonathon Burch; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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