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Kurdish militant attacks on convoys kill 1 Turkish soldier, injure 20

A Turkish soldier was killed and 20 others were injured on Tuesday in two separate attacks by Kurdish insurgents on military convoys in the south-east, security sources said, in the latest violence to buffet the mainly Kurdish region.

The southeast has been rocked by a spate of clashes with insurgents that has left hundreds dead since a two-year-old ceasefire between the Turkish state and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants broke down in July.

The first attack came before dawn as a convoy, escorted by a police vehicle, entered the Yuksekova district in Hakkari province near the Iranian border, said the security sources.

They said that one police officer was wounded. The armed forces later confirmed that a soldier had died.

Later on Tuesday, a mine exploded as a military convoy was driving on a road between the Silvan district and Diyarbakir, the main city in the southeast. Nineteen soldiers were wounded in that attack, security sources said.

Areas of the southeast have been intermittently subject to round-the-clock curfews in response to the conflict. Security sources said six people had died in clashes in the town of Silvan in Diyarbakir province since a curfew was imposed there eight days ago.

Last Thursday, the PKK ended a month-old ceasefire that it had declared before the Nov 1 election. That vote was won by the AK Party of President Tayyip Erdogan, who subsequently vowed to fight the PKK until all fighters were “liquidated”.

Erdogan has overseen a peace process launched with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in late 2012 but talks were frozen in April and the European Commission called on Tuesday for the revival of the process.

“The settlement process of the Kurdish issue came to a halt despite earlier positive developments on the issue. It is imperative that the peace talks resume,” the European Commission said in its annual report on Turkey.

The PKK, which wants autonomy for Turkey’s large Kurdish minority, is listed as a terrorist organisation by Ankara, the United States and European Union. It took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people, mostly Kurdish militants, have died in the conflict.

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