Kurdish rebels have stormed a Turkish army post on the Iraq border, triggering fighting that killed 22 people in the latest clash since Ankara launched a major offensive against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Six soldiers, two village guards and 14 Kurdish rebels were killed on Sunday following the assault on an army post in a village in the southeastern province of Hakkari, the local governor told the Anatolia news agency.
Three of the slain rebels were women, provincial governor Orhan Alimoglu said.
Another 15 soldiers, one village guard and five civilians were wounded, according to a statement from the governor's office cited by Anatolia.
The PKK rebels launched simultaneous assaults on three border posts but the casualties occurred at a post in the village of Gecimli, the private NTV television station reported.
It was the deadliest clash since June, when fighting between Turkish soldiers and Kurdish rebels left 28 people dead following a similar attack on an army post in the same region.
Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said after Sunday's attack that Turkey's fight against "terrorism" would continue.
A series of similar assaults against troops in the Kurdish-dominated southeast prompted the army to launch an all-out offensive last month against PKK bases in the area.
The Turkish ground and air operation, one of the biggest in years, is focused on the town of Semdinli in Hakkari province, and NTV television said about 2000 troops were involved.
"A serious and strong operation is under way in Semdinli," Atalay said last week.
The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms in the southeast in 1984, sparking a conflict that has killed 45,000 people.
Turkey's latest offensive against the PKK came as Kurds in northern Syria are reported to have taken control of some regions as fighting escalates in the uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Damascus of allowing Kurdish rebels a free hand in the north of the country and warned that Ankara would not hesitate to strike "terrorists".
Ankara has claimed that some of the Kurdish rebels in Syria were forced to move there from hideouts in mountainous zones of northern Iraq after the Turkish army carried out several air strikes in the area.
The reported control of northern Syria by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the PKK's Syrian ally, has pushed Ankara to take diplomatic and military steps to neutralise what it sees as any potential threat.
Turkey has massed a convoy of tanks, weapons and ground-to-air missile batteries on the border with Syria and staged military drills, which have been seen by the media as a show of force against Damascus.
Ties between one-time allies Ankara and Damascus have soured since Assad's regime launched a brutal crackdown on dissent in March last year.
Relations hit an all-time low after a Turkish fighter jet was brought down by Syrian fire in June, killing its two pilots and leading Ankara to brand Damascus a "hostile" opponent.
Damascus in turn has claimed that Ankara is supporting "terrorists" to bring down the Syrian regime, referring to the Free Syrian Army of defecting soldiers which has a base on Turkish soil near the border.
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited northern Iraq for talks with Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani about the situation in northern Syria.
"The new Syria should be free of any terrorist and extremist group or organisation," the two said in a rare joint statement.
Although Turkey has built ties with the Kurdish regional government in the north of Iraq, Ankara is opposed to the idea of a separate Kurdish state.