Three Turk soldiers and 11 PKK rebels were killed in fighting in southeastern Turkey, in the provinces of Sirnak.
December 26; Kurdish PKK rebel leader Abdullah Ocalon, already sentenced to death for leading the guerrilla war against Turkey, began another trial in a Turkish court on 15 Dec. He is now accused of separatism, murder, extortion, and membership in an armed terrorist organization. Some of the charges date back 20 years. A total of 100 Kurdish defendants are under indictment; many have never been captured. Due to the Turkish legal system, the various charges against Ocalon had to be divided into two separate trials. It is generally assumed that once the Turkish appeals court confirms the death sentence from the first trial, the second will be quietly forgotten. Turkey, which has just been accepted as a candidate member by the European Union, is starting to show signs of anxiety over the possible execution of Ocalon, as this would probably doom EU membership hopes. Right wing politicians continue to demand that the sentence be carried out.--Stephen V Cole