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15 Turkish soldiers killed in Kurdish rebel attack

Kurdish rebels killed 15 Turkish soldiers along Turkey’s eastern border with Iraq, CNN reported Saturday.

Turkish president Abdullah Gul indicated that two other soldiers were missing and 20 others were wounded. The Associated Press reported that at least 23 rebels were killed when Turkish troops fired back.

“The terror group wants to show that it is still alive,? Gul told CNN. “That’s the reason for this attack.?

Gul was speaking of the Kurdish Worker’s Party or PKK, the leading Kurdish rebel group in the region. The Turksih military indicated that most casualties in the attack, which originated in northern Iraq, were the result of heavy arms fire.

The BBC reported that over 40,000 people have been killed since 1984, when the PKK began launching attacks from Northern Iraq. The PKK are looking to have a self-governing nation set up for themselves in southeastern Turkey.

The BBC reported that the attack was a surprise directed at a military outpost near Semdinli. The ambush resulted in the highest number of casualties in an attack this year.

The attack comes before a scheduled vote in the Turkish government on Tuesday that would extend the rights of the military launch attacks on the PKK in northern Iraq.

A spokesman for the Iraqi government condemned the attacks, noting that the situation presents border security issues for both Turkey and Iraq.