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Ankara Vows To Fight PKK During Ramadan

ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 17 (UPI) — Turkish authorities aren’t going to wait until the holy month of Ramadan ends before taking on Kurdish militants, the country’s president said Wednesday.

The militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, was blamed for killing eight Turkish soldiers and a village guard in an ambush Wednesday in Turkey’s southeastern province of Hakkari.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul in statements published by Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman said the PKK would pay a heavy price for the attack, even during Ramadan, which continues through Aug. 30.

“It is out of question that authorities wait for the end of Ramadan in the fight against terror,” he was quoted as saying. “Counter-terrorism efforts are under way in all dimensions.”

The PKK has been blamed for the deaths of 20 soldiers in recent weeks. The Iranian military has placed troops near the shared border with Iraq to fight PKK affiliates in the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan, or PJAK.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a weekend speech marking the 10th anniversary of his Justice and Development Party that Ankara’s patience with the PKK was wearing thin.

Turkey has fought militant separatists in the PKK since the 1980s.

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