Turkish security sources quoted by Reuters say that five Turkish soldiers have been killed and seven wounded in an attack by Kurdish militants.
The Turkish military says the assault was carried out by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on a military base in southeast Turkey’s Siirt province. Those killed are said to have been from a village guard militia which supports the Turkish military in the Eruh district.
State-run Anadolu news agency said four soldiers and three village guards were wounded in the attack, which happened in an area where road construction work was being carried out.
The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The spring often sees an escalation in the mountainous mainly Kurdish region of southeast Turkey.
The conflict has intensified since a ceasefire collapsed in 2015. The PKK launched a separatist insurgency in 1984, since when 40,000 people have been killed in its struggle against the Turkish state.
Earlier this month, Turkey captured the northern Syrian town of Afrin after a two-month offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. Ankara views the movement as an extension of the PKK.
Turkey has rejected a French offer to mediate in the conflict. On Thursday President Macron met with a delegation from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), including the YPG which Turkey is trying to banish from its border area. The French president assured the SDF of France’s support in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.
“We reject all efforts seeking to promote dialogue, contact or mediation between Turkey and terrorist groups,” a spokesman for the Turkish presidency said on Friday, in response to the proposal from Paris.