44 terrorists ‘neutralized’ in northern Iraq, says Turkish minister
“Operations Pençe-Şimşek and Pençe-Yıldırım are ongoing successfully; 44 terrorists have been neutralized so far,” Akar told troops at the “Biliç Tepe” base area in northern Iraq, where he paid a visit along with high-level military officials to monitor the anti-terror operations.
Akar said anti-terror efforts would continue until the last terrorist was “neutralized.”
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in statements to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
Stressing that their struggle is only against terrorists, Akar said: “We do not have any problems with our Kurdish brothers or citizens. Our only goal is to end terrorism.”
“Therefore, we will not forget that Turks, Kurds and Arabs are all brothers and sisters, and each of them is a first-class citizen of the Republic of Turkey,” he stated.
Akar, along with high-level military officials, paid a visit on May 1 to the province of Şırnak to monitor anti-terror operations directed from the border province.
Akar has reached the area of Operation Pençe-Şimşek for inspections, the defense ministry said in a statement. He was accompanied by Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and Land Forces Commander Gen. Ümit Dundar.
Turkey launched Operations Pençe-Şimşek and Pençe-Yıldırım on April 23 in northern Iraq’s Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions near Turkey’s borders.
The PKK terror group often uses bases in northern Iraq just across Turkey’s southern border to hide and plot terror attacks in Turkey.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU – is responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.