Turkey kills 70 Kurdish militants, vowing to prevent 'chaos'

Smoke rising over Cizre (19 December 2015) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Cizre is at the centre of the Turkish military operation

Turkey will not allow Kurdish militants to create "chaos" in the cities of the country's south-east, PM Ahmet Davutoglu says.

Turkey says about 70 suspected members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and two soldiers have been killed since Wednesday in a major military operation against the rebels.

A ceasefire and talks to settle the conflict broke down in July.

Kurdish sources say 200,000 people have been forced from their homes.

Around 10,000 government security forces, backed by heavy weaponry, have been involved in the operation which centres on Cizre and Silopi, according to the military.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption These armoured vehicles were patrolling the streets of Cizre on Saturday

Cizre was placed under curfew in September, with Turkey describing the town as a hotbed of PKK activity.

Grim reports from Turkish town under curfew

Inside Turkey's battle-scarred Kurdish town

Turkey-PKK conflict: Why are clashes escalating?

Mr Davutoglu said the government would oppose any attempt by the the PKK and its supporters to expand the conflict.

"If your struggle is creating chaos in these cities, we will not allow that.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Protests have continued in Diyarbakir against the curfew

"If they are struggling to secede from Turkey, we will never allow that."

On Monday, two protesters died in a clash between police and Kurdish demonstrators over a curfew imposed in Diyarbakir.

Parts of the city were placed under curfew in November after a pro-Kurdish lawyer, Tahir Elci, was shot dead in a fight between police and unidentified gunmen. Two policemen also died.

More than 40,000 people have died since the PKK launched its armed campaign in 1984.

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