2011-08-17: DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) – Turkey sent warplanes to attack Kurdish targets in northern Iraq on Wednesday, military sources said, hours after a rebel attack in southeast Turkey killed a dozen soldiers.
The planes took off from a base in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir and struck targets in the mountainous Kandil and Zap areas of Iraq where the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) operates a number of bases, the sources said.
They said the targets included anti-aircraft defenses and rebel shelters in the region.
The air raids came hours after reports of an attack by Kurdish guerrillas on a military convoy in southeastern Turkey.
Eleven solders and a member of the state-backed village guard militia were killed in the ambush in Hakkari province’s Cukurca district near the Iraqi border, Turkish media reported.
The PKK did not immediately claim responsibility.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan condemned the killings, saying those who carried out such attacks would “pay the price.”
“Our patience has finally run out. Those who do not distance themselves from terrorism will pay the price,” Erdogan told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Istanbul.
President Abdullah Gul said the cost of carrying out such raids against the Turkish state would be “very big,” state-run Anatolian news agency said.
Recent Turkish media reports have said Erdogan plans to launch a new offensive against the PKK in southeastern Turkey after the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
In July, Kurdish fighters killed 13 troops, the highest death toll for Turkish troops in an attack since the PKK ended a ceasefire in February. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict since the PKK took up arms for Kurdish self-rule in 1984.
(Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay in Istanbul, writing by Daren Butler and Jonathon Burch, editing by Maria Golovnina)