A Turkish soldier died on Sunday in clashes with terrorists from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) during an offensive in northern Iraq, the defence ministry said in a statement.

The soldier fell as a martyr during clashes with terrorists in the Operation Claw-Tiger region in Iraq, the ministy said, without specifying where the fighting occured.

Turkey launched on June 17 an air and ground offensive against the PKK, which has fought an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 and which is listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

The army frequently conducts operations against PKK hideouts in southeast Turkey and rear bases in Iraq.

The latest offensive has sparked protests from Iraq which has summoned the Turkish envoy in Baghdad twice over the operation.

Local Kurdish officials in northern Iraq say at least five civilians have been killed since the operation began nearly two weeks ago.

However Turkey says its target is the PKK and that its army has done everything in its capacity to avoid civilian casualties and attacks on civilian targets.