Two policeman were killed and three others injured in predominantly Kurdish eastern Turkey’s largest city when Kurdish militants clashed with security forces early on Sunday, government sources said.
Gunfire and explosions echoed across the centre of Diyarbakir on Sunday morning after fighters from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fired a rocket-propelled grenade at police trying to fill in ditches dug by the PKK in the Sur district of the city.
Security forces responded with an air-supported operation against the militants and the governor’s office imposed a curfew in the area, ordering all residents to remain indoors.
The clashes are the latest in a deadly drumbeat of violence that has swept eastern Turkey since July, when a two-year ceasefire between the PKK and the government collapsed, with both sides blaming each other.
Since then officials say that more than 70 members of the security forces and hundreds of Kurdish militants have been killed in almost daily clashes.
Also on Sunday, Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink, who is based in Diyarbakir and mainly covers Kurdish issues, was detained by authorities, the Netherlands’ national news agency ANP reported.
Geerdink was detained in January for alleged dissemination of “terrorist propaganda” but the charges were dropped.
Last week two Vice News journalists were arrested for alleged links to terrorist groups. They, too, were released later, but the detentions have deepened concerns over press freedom under Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.