Human-rights activists in Turkey have published photos they say show the burned and maimed bodies of eight members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, killed allegedly by chemical weapons.

Forensics examiners at the Hamburg University Hospital said the photographic evidence showed the PKK militants had died "due to the use of chemical substances," the German news magazine Der Spiegel reports.

Claudia Roth, a leader of the Green Party in Germany, joined a chorus of voices expressing outrage at the findings.

"The latest findings are so spectacular that the Turkish side urgently needs to explain things," she was quoted as saying. "It is impossible to understand why an autopsy of the PKK fighters was ordered but the results kept under seal."

Turkish human-rights groups and international medical organizations have long suspected Ankara was using chemical weapons to suppress the PKK’s militant campaign.

Akin Birdal, a member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, said Ankara was bent on eliminating the PKK "by any means necessary."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan discounted the allegations as "PKK propaganda."

Berlin, for its part, is opposed to Ankara becoming a full member of the European Union.

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