ANKARA, Sept 29, (Agencies): Turkish security forces killed more than 30 Kurdish militants in a cross-border operation overnight, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday. Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast has been scorched by fighting between security forces and Kurdish militants since a ceasefire fell apart in July. Some critics say Erdogan has launched a crackdown to bolster nationalist support for the ruling AK Party before November elections.
A police officer wounded in an attack in Turkey’s southern province of Adana late on Monday died from his injuries, local media reported on Tuesday, becoming the second police officer to be killed in the incident.
The two police officers were attacked by two masked gunmen while on patrol in the Seyhan district of Adana province, which has a sizeable Kurdish population, Turkey’s Hurriyet daily reported. Meanwhile, Turkish authorities on Tuesday released 32 people working for Kurdish-language media detained overnight in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, local sources said. Anti-terror police on Tuesday detained the 32 journalists and other employees in raids on the offices of pro-Kurdish news agency Dicle (DIHA), Kurdish-language newspaper Azadiye Welat, Aram Publications and KURDI-DER (Kurdish language association).
All were released early Tuesday after being questioned by police, the sources said. It was not clear what they were accused of but one source said police had conducted the raid to search for a suspected terrorist who was thought to be hiding inside the DIHA building, which also houses Azadiye Welat. DIHA on Tuesday condemned the detentions in a statement on its website and said those held were taken to the ground floor of the building where they were subject to violence.
The Turkish government has been waging a relentless offensive against strongholds the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeast and in neighbouring northern Iraq. In response the group — blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community — has hit back hard, killing dozens of police and soldiers in almost daily bomb and gunfire attacks. In recent weeks, the authorities have carried out a string of arrests of journalists, and police have raided a holding company that owns opposition media, sparking criticism from Western countries and media watchdogs.