75 PKK militants killed as army launches major operation
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Chief of General Staff Gen Özel has started the operation, the military says. AP photo
Seventy-five militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have been killed in operations in the eastern province of Hakkari between Sept. 8 and today, the local governor's office has announced.
Four security personnel were killed in the clashes, the announcement added.
The statement from the governor's office came a day after the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) announced the beginning of a major operation against the PKK in Hakkari’s Şemdinli district, noting that seven battalions were participating in the mobilization.
A brief statement posted on the website of the TSK also said that Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel – accompanied by Land Forces Commander Gen. Hayri Kıvrıkoğlu and Air Forces Commander Gen. Mehmet Erten – had traveled to the province’s Yüksekova and Şemdinli districts to inspect the military units there.
The statement, which was titled “The inspections of the chief of General Staff at the Second Army Command,” said Özel received information on the ongoing large-scale operation from the authorities.
The Second Army is headquartered in the eastern province of Malatya and shoulders the responsibility of securing the nation’s Iraqi and Syrian borders, as well as eastern Turkey.
Özel and the other top soldiers visited the Second Army headquarters on Sept. 11 and were reportedly given a three-hour briefing by Second Army Cmdr. Gen. Galip Mendi. After the meeting, the generals returned to Ankara.
An announcement was placed on the TSK’s official website that said “the commanders had gone to Malatya to conduct inspections.”
Meanwhile, two soldiers were killed late Sept. 12 in an operation in Şemdinli against the PKK, while a police officer wounded during an earlier attack on a post died in hospital yesterday.
Sgt. Ferhat Kaplangiray was laid to rest in his hometown, the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, yesterday. A funeral for Cpl. Erol Erdi, who was killed in his first military operation, will be buried in the northwestern province of Balıkesir today.