Landmine explosion wounds seven soldiers in southeast Turkey

Landmine explosion wounds seven soldiers in southeast Turkey
Turkish soldiers stand guard by their tank in downtown Diyarbakir on October 8, 2014.

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey - Seven Turkish soldiers including a battalion commander were wounded on Monday when their armoured vehicle drove over a land mine in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey, the military said.

It did not say who planted the mine, or when, but Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants have carried out such attacks on military vehicles in the past. The wounded were hospitalised and the gravity of their injuries was not immediately known.

The incident occurred in the Nusaybin area of Mardin province, near the border with Syria, during a military patrol, according to the General Staff website.

A two-year-old peace process between the government and the PKK is under strain three decades after the militants launched an insurgency in southeast Turkey.

In October, dozens were killed during unrest in the region fuelled by rage among Kurds at what they see as the government's failure to help Syrian Kurds fighting Islamic State jihadists in the besieged Syrian town of Kobani on Turkey's southern border.

The violence has complicated efforts to end the PKK'S 30-year-old insurgency, in which more than 40,000 people have been killed. The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Ankara, the United States and European Union.

However, talks between the government and pro-Kurdish politicians have gathered pace of late. "We have left behind a period of crisis," Kurdish Peoples'Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Sirri Sureyya Onder told reporters after meeting Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan on Monday.

"This does not mean that all problems have been solved... We have reached agreement on the things we will discuss and the method we will use." Writing on his Twitter account, Akdogan subsequently said:"The process is continuing with strong political will and determination.

Talks have accelerated to achieve a final result on the basis of trust and good intent."

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