Turkish forces capture senior Kurdish rebel commander

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Swooping down in helicopters, army forces captured a top Turkish Kurdish rebel commander in northern Iraq on Monday and brought him back to Turkey.
The operation could deal a serious blow to Turkey’s autonomy-seeking PKK rebels if the commander, Semdin Sakik, provides the military with information about the rebels’ tactics, bases and numbers.
Commandos flew by helicopter into the Iraqi city of Dohuk, 30 miles south of the Turkish border, and caught Sakik and his brother Hasan as they were leaving a house, the Turkish military chiefs of staff said. Both were unharmed, and they were flown to southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir.
Semdin Sakik commanded PKK operations inside Turkey. But he reportedly fell out with the PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, after military crackdowns on the group and found refuge with an Iraqi Kurdish group last month.
That group, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, said Monday that Sakik was seized while their forces were moving him further south for security reasons. The statement, faxed to The Associated Press in Cairo, Egypt, said Turkish troops also seized some Iraqi Kurds with Sakik. Close to 37,000 people have died in 14 years of fighting between Kurds and Turkish troops.
Iraqi Kurdish officials were not available for comment. Iraqi Kurds control a swath of northern Iraq that came under the protection of a Western air force after the Gulf War.
After suffering setbacks in the southeast, the PKK has moved some of its guerrilla units to western Turkey to carry out attacks in tourist areas.
The Turkish military has pursued those guerrillas in the mountains near the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, killing 10 of them last week. Some 1,500 troops conducted operations to capture or kill guerrillas in recent days, news reports said.
Kurds are a major ethnic group straddling Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Their total num