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Turkish border fire blamed on PKK

June 3, 2013 at 12:35 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, June 3 (UPI) -- Fighters from the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party fired on a Turkish military base near the Iraq border, the armed forces said in a statement.

Turkish forces conducted aerial surveillance Monday near the Iraqi border to discover potential targets belonging to the separatist group known by its Kurdish initials, PKK. Turkish newspaper Hurriyet cited a military statement that said one soldier suffered minor injuries from gunfire believed to be from the PKK in Sirnak province.

Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan called on his followers to leave Turkey for northern Iraq following talks with Turkish government officials. Pro-Kurdish lawmakers expressed frustration with the lack of security guarantees for departing PKK members, who didn't disarm as part of the withdrawal deal.

Small groups of PKK fighters started arriving in Iraq last month.

The border skirmishes come as the Turkish government responds to fierce anti-government protests that erupted last weekend. Demonstrations started last week over plans to tear down a park.

Turkey's prime minister blamed the opposition Republican People's Party and social media for protests that left at least 1,700 people injured by early Monday.

About 7,000 protesters threw firebombs in Ankara and police responded with tear gas Monday.

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