The Turkish General Staff has announced that sixteen Turkish soldiers stationed with the Daglica battalion in the Yuksekova district in Turkey’s eastern province of Hakkari were killed and six others have been wounded in a terror attack by the outlawed PKK on September six.
The battalion is located along the Turkish border with Iran and has been attacked numerous times in the past.
The army's statement said that the Turkish military has launched a number of air strikes against 23 PKK targets in the region since this morning. Military units have also been operating over-land against PKK terrorists, according to the statement.
Turkish media outlets have reported that Lieutenant Colonel Ilker Celikcan, who was the commanding officer, is been among those reported killed from the battalion.
The names of the other soldiers killed are reported to be Tolga Artug, Ozgur Yatakdere, Adnan Ergen, Ugur Yildiz, Resul Coskun, Fatih Duru, Cihan Aksari, Tayfur Hancer, Tugrul Koseoglu, Muharrem Oksuz, Cemre Salih Gozen, Okan Tasan, Harun Saltali, Deniz Gockun and Mustafa Ozdemir.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly condemned “the atrocious attack that caused the martyrdom and injuries of our soldiers,” by the PKK.
“The pain of our security forces martyred in a malicious attack by a separatist terrorist organisation offends [us],” he said, as he gave his condolences to the relatives of the soldiers who were killed.
The PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, NATO, the US and the EU.
PKK terrorists have launched several attacks against Turkish security forces since the Suruc suicide bombing in Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province, widely thought to have been carried out by ISIS on July 20.
More than 90 Turkish security officials have been killed in attacks by the PKK and ISIS since the Suruc bombing.
In response to the PKK and ISIS attacks, the Turkish security forces have reportedly stepped up their efforts against the militant groups and killed more than seven hundred PKK terrorists.
During domestic operations and air strikes security forces have, since late June, targeted PKK camps and teams in northern Iraq as well as several positions used by ISIS in northern Syria.
Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern regions by the outlawed PKK, which was founded in 1974 by Abdullah Ocalan and his supporters in Ankara. Armed clashes with the Turkish Army and acts of violence by the group have continued on and off for more than 30 years, and claimed more than 40,000 lives.