Germany urges restraint after PKK attacks on Turkish army

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German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle urged all sides to refrain from further violence Wednesday after deadly attacks by Kurdish rebels on the Turkish army in southeast Turkey.

The German minister said that he was "alarmed and shaken" by the high number of victims in the simultaneous attacks by Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels near the Iraqi border.

At least 24 Turkish soldiers were killed on Tuesday night, marking one of the deadliest days for the army in the 27-year battle against the separatists.

"The federal government views with great concern the flare-up of the conflict in the Kurdish areas and clear increase of violence connected to it since the Turkish parliamentary elections on June 12, 2011," he said.

"I appeal to all participants to do everything to avoid a further escalation of violence."

After the rebel attacks, Ankara hit back with cross-border air strikes on PKK bases while Turkish troops crossed into neighbouring Iraq.

"I would like to encourage the governments of Turkey and Iraq, including the Kurdish regional government, to enter into dialogue to together find ways and means of not allowing terror groups like the PKK a shelter in the Turkish-Iraqi border region," he added.

© 2011 AFP

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