Twelve people were killed in an attack in southeastern Turkey on Saturday, Turkish army officials said on Sunday.
The assailants, said to be Kurdish separatists, opened fire on a minibus in the Sirnak province, not far from the border with Iraq.
Among the dead were seven Village Guard members, Kurdish paramilitary units armed by the central government in Ankara, whose role is to protect the southeast from attacks by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The army is still hunting for the gunmen.
Ankara believes the PKK is using Iraq as a base for its attacks in southeastern Turkey.
The attack came on the heels of an operation to capture PKK members in the region, in which a senior member of the organization was killed.
The PKK is demanding self rule in Turkey’s southeast, in a 23-year conflict which has claimed more than 30,000 lives.
Ankara signed a deal with Iraq on Friday to cooperate in putting an end to attacks from Kurdish separatists launched from Iraqi soil.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the PKK has tanks and weapons from to the United States army, according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.
“It has been detected that the PKK has canons, tanks and such weapons from the U.S.,” Erdogan said on Thursday during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, the newspaper wrote.
This had been confirmed by American authorities, Erdogan said, adding that he had not heard a satisfactory explanation as to how U.S. arms ended up in the hands of the PKK, which Washington designates a terrorist organization.
Erdogan said he hoped to address this in upcoming talks.
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