ANKARA — Five members of Turkey’s security forces and five Kurdish militants were killedin clashes in the southeast where unrest has flared since the arrest this week of two popular mayors.
Two soldiers were killed in a clash near Hani, a town outside Diyarbakir, the region’s biggest city, security sources said. A third died in a firefight near Cukurca near the Iraqi border, where five militants were also killed, they said.
A soldier was killed by a homemade explosive device in Bingol, 140 km north of Diyarbakir, and a member of a state-backed militia was killed in Batman province to the east.
Violence has escalated in the 15 months since the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) called off a two-year ceasefire, and the arrest of Diyabakir Mayor Gultan Kisanak and her co-mayor Firat Anli lateon terrorism charges has caused further resentment.
A lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) accused the government of blocking the internet throughout the mainly Kurdish southeast after the arrests.
President Tayyip Erdogan has said the removal of elected officials and civil servants accused of links to the PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, is a vital part of the battle against it.