ANKARA, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Kurdish militants said on Sunday they had killed 15 Turkish soldiers in an attack on a convoy of armored vehicles in southeast Turkey, in what could be the bloodiest assault since the collapse of a ceasefire in July.
The number of casualties could not be independently verified but in a televised statement President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed an attack had taken place in Hakkari province, close to Turkey’s borders with Iran and Iraq.
In a statement posted online, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) said its guerrillas had ambushed the convoy in Yuksekova district.
“An attack from several sides left 15 soldiers dead, and a large number of weapons were seized in the action,” the statement read.
The clash marks a crescendo in a deadly stream of attacks since July, which officials said had already claimed the lives of at least 70 members of the security services and hundreds of PKK militants.
The PKK has fought a three-decades-long insurgency against the government, demanding greater Kurdish autonomy. The group is listed as a terrorist organization in both Europe and the United States.
Both sides blame the other for the collapse of the July ceasefire, which has left efforts to bring a lasting end to the conflict in tatters.
“A new strategy will be adopted in the fight against (PKK) terror. We’ll continue with determination,” Erdogan said in his address.
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