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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Two Turkey ruling party officials 'killed by PKK'

Sixteen suspects already in custody

DIYARBAKIR // Two officials from Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been shot dead in two separate incidents, with officials blaming the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Aydin Ahi, deputy chairman of the AKP in the Ozalp district of the eastern province of Van, was killed in the early hours of Sunday morning just a few metres from his house after being seized by militants, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The AKP chairman in Ozalp, Zahir Soganda, said the killing was carried out by the PKK. Sixteen suspects have already been detained.

According to Anadolu, Ahi's predecessor was also assassinated in similar circumstances last year.

Orhan Mercan, the deputy chairman of the AKP in the Lice district of Diyarbakir province, in the south-east, was shot dead early on Saturday in front of his house in another suspected assassination by the PKK..

The PKK has waged an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984, which has killed tens of thousands of people. Initially, they wanted independence but scaled back their demands to increased rights.

For two years, starting in 2013, the PKK observed a ceasefire but fighting resumed in the summer of 2015. Hundreds of members of the Turkish security forces have been killed since then and the army claims it has killed thousands of militants.

The PKK is classified as a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

Agence France-Presse

DIYARBAKIR, TURKEY // Two officials from Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were shot dead in two separate incidents over the weekend, with officials blaming the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Aydin Ahi, deputy chairman of the AKP in the Ozalp district of the eastern province of Van, was killed in the early hours of Sunday morning just a few metres from his house after being seized by militants.Security sources said the gunmen dragged him from his home at gunpoint and killed him nearby.

The AKP chairman in Ozalp, Zahir Soganda, said the killing was carried out by the PKK. Sixteen suspects have already been detained.

Orhan Mercan, the AKP's deputy head in the Lice district of Diyarbakir province, was shot in front of his home early on Saturday and died of his wounds in hospital, the provincial governor's office said.

Energy minister Berat Albayrak wrote on Twitter that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militantswere responsible for both murders. The PKK has so far made no comment but the group has targeted AKP officials in the past.

The PKK launched a separatist insurgency against the state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have been killed in the conflict. It is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

A two-year ceasefire between the Turkish state and the militants broke down in July 2015 and the southeast region of the country, where the PKK is strongest, subsequently saw some of the worst violence since the insurgency began.

Violence flared across the region on Saturday. In an air strike in the southeastern province of Mardin, the Turkish military killed five PKK militants preparing an attack on an army base, said a statement from the army general staff. In separate air raids, the army also killed five PKK fighters in southeast Turkey's Bingol province and another four militants in the Metina region of northern Iraq, the army said.

Another three PKK militants were killed in clashes on Saturday in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakir, Hakkari and Sirnak.

Reuters

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