(AFP) – Oct 4, 2008
LONDON (AFP) — Britain on Saturday condemned an attack by Kurdish rebels on Turkish forces that left 38 people dead and said it stood "shoulder-to-shoulder" with Ankara in its fight against the separatists.
Fifteen soldiers and 23 rebels from the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) died in clashes sparked by a rebel attack on a Turkish military post near the Iraqi border on Friday, the army said.
"The United Kingdom utterly condemns Friday's terrorist attack in Hakari, Turkey. There can be no excuse for the use of violence to achieve one's aims," a spokesman for the Foreign Office said.
"The UK stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Turkey in its fight against terrorism and strongly supports ongoing efforts between the Turkish and Iraqi authorities to prevent the PKK from using northern Iraq as a base from which to mount attacks against Turkey," it added.
The PKK -- considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union -- has been fighting for a separate state in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey since 1984.
The conflict has claimed some 44,000 lives, according to figures recently released by the Turkish army.
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