Turkey aims to eradicate ‘terror threat’
“Our aim is to eradicate the present terror threat posed from that region to our borders and territory by the completion of the operation,” Akar told reporters in Turkey’s southern province of Adana.
Turkish soldiers will destroy “all caves and dens” used by PKK militants, he added.
Authorities often use the word “neutralized” in statements to imply militants in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
So far 19 militants have been neutralized in Hakurk, northern Iraq since the operation began on May 27, said a ministry statement.
It added that Turkish commando forces are continuing to designate and destroy weapon emplacements, shelters and caves used by the PKK.
Later, the ministry said in a separate statement that two Turkish soldiers were killed as an improvised explosive device planted by PKK militants went off during the operation.
The military offensive aims to “neutralize terrorists in the area.” It began with artillery shelling, supported by air strikes and commando operations.
The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, is headquartered in northern Iraq and runs several camps used by militants to infiltrate Turkey. Turkey has sporadically carried out cross-border operations in northern Iraq against the PKK in the last decades. Turkey conducts air strikes to hit PKK targets in the area regularly.