DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Security forces backed by helicopters imposed a curfew in parts of a southeastern Turkish town on Tuesday and one man was killed in clashes with Kurdish militants, security sources said, the first death since a weekend election heightened tensions.
The military said it carried out air strikes on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant bases across the border in northern Iraq on Monday, suggesting there will be no let-up in its campaign in the wake of the vote.
The ruling AK Party won back a parliamentary majority on Sunday in a major victory for President Tayyip Erdogan, who has pledged to continue operations against the PKK after a two-year ceasefire collapsed in July.
In the town of Silvan, militants in the PKK’s youth wing dug trenches on Tuesday to keep police out of some areas, security sources said, while security forces put three neighbourhoods under curfew.
A 22-year-old civilian was shot dead in the town, around 60 km (37 miles) north of Diyarbakir, the largest city in the mainly Kurdish southeast.
Monday’s air strikes in northern Iraq targeted shelters and weapons stores used by the PKK, the Chief of the General Staff said on its website on Tuesday.
Erdogan had been credited with negotiating a peace process with the PKK beginning in late 2012, but the slow-moving talks ground to a halt before a June election, in which his AKP lost its single-party majority for the first time since 2002.
The progressive Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which has links with the PKK but has called for an end to the violence and supports a political settlement, won a record number of seats in that vote. A month later, the 30-year conflict with the PKK re-ignited.
Sunday’s snap election was ordered by Erdogan after the AKP failed to form a coalition. The AKP won 49 percent of the vote but the HDP lost more than a third of its seats, raising fears that a return to peace talks will be difficult.
The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984, and more than 40,000 people, mainly Kurds, have been killed.
Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Nick Tattersall and John Stonestreet