DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish security forces killed 17 Kurdish militants near the border between Iraq and southeast Turkey, the armed forces said on Thursday, after eight members of Turkey's security forces were killed in clashes.
Early on Thursday, Turkish forces killed five Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in clashes after the militants sought to cross the border into Hakkari province's mountainous Semdinli district, the armed forces said in a statement.
It said six Turkish soldiers and two members of the country's state-backed village guard militia were killed in the fighting.
A helicopter-backed operation was started in search of further PKK militants, and Turkish warplanes later killed another 12 militants who were trying to escape across the border to northern Iraq, the military said.
Separately, President Tayyip Erdogan said another five PKK militants were killed in clashes in the southeastern province of Tunceli.
He said the clashes in Turkey's southeast were continuing.
The PKK launched a separatist insurgency in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict. It is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.
(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Daren Butler and Tuvan Gumrukcu, Editing by William Maclean)