Kurdish Guerrillas Kill Turkish Military Commander

Associated Press

Separatist Kurdish guerrillas killed a Turkish brigadier general Friday in an attack on the southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

Gen. Bahtiyar Aydin was the highest-ranking military victim in the 9-year-old insurgency by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

It was the second attack in less than 24 hours. Twenty-four people were killed Thursday when a group of Kurdish rebels raided Derince village in the southeastern province of Siirt, the government-owned Anatolian News Agency said Friday.


Aydin, a regional military police commander, was shot dead in the town of Lice, 420 miles from the Turkish capital, Ankara, the news service said. State television said the guerrillas fired on government buildings and military headquarters.

Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, returning from a nine-day trip to the United States and Mexico, went directly into a meeting with her Cabinet members and military commanders.

The PKK has stepped up attacks since June, when the guerrillas ended a unilateral cease-fire that failed to draw the government into negotiations.

The fighting has claimed about 2,000 lives in the last year. Rebels often target civilians they accuse of cooperating with the government.

Also Friday, the White House voiced fresh support for Turkey’s efforts to strengthen its economy and security as the country copes with economic problems incurred resulting from the U.N. embargo against Iraq.

A U.S.-Turkish statement expressing that support was issued after senior-level delegations of the two governments met to discuss Turkey’s situation in the aftermath of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.