June 27, 2011 / 9:31 AM / in 9 years

Turkish soldier killed in Kurdish rebel ambush

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A Turkish soldier was killed and three others wounded in an ambush by Kurdish separatist rebels close to Turkey’s border with Iran late Sunday, security sources said.

Tension is rising in the mainly Kurdish southeast region of Turkey after a pro-Kurdish party threatened to boycott parliament. Kurdish rebels killed two Turkish police officers last week in the eastern province of Tunceli.

The Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which won 36 seats in a June 12 vote, said it would not attend parliament unless an elected deputy is allowed to take his seat.

Turkey’s election board last week disqualified Hatip Dicle due to a past conviction for spreading “terrorist propaganda.”

The move, which has sparked street protests in Kurdish areas, could force a by-election.

Three newly elected BDP candidates protested with scores of others in central Istanbul Sunday. Stone-throwing protesters clashed with police who used tear gas and water cannons to disperse them. Authorities detained 40 people.

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) ended a six-month cease-fire in February and declared what it calls an “active defence” stance, whereby its fighters will defend themselves if under threat but will not stage attacks.

A PKK insurgency, seeking an independent Kurdish area in the southeast, began in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict, the majority of them Kurds.

Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan, Writing by Ece Toksabay; editing by Mark Heinrich

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