Defense minister vows to eliminate terrorists in N Iraq
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on June 5 vowed to destroy all shelters used by the illegal PKK group in Hakurk in northern Iraq and clear the region of terrorists.
“We will not leave the area until the last terrorist is neutralized. We will get out all of the terrorists,” the minister said, speaking to soldiers at Büyüktopraklı military base located in the Derecik district of southwestern Hakkari province near the border with Iraq.
Akar, accompanied by Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler, Army Commander Gen. Ümit Dündar, Navy Commander Adm. Adnan Özbal and Air Force Commander Gen. Hasan Küçükakyüz, visited the Büyüktopraklı military base.
The commanders inspected the base and then received a briefing regarding operations of the base. They congratulated the soldiers and commanders deployed there on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.
The military base is among the closest Turkish military facilities inside Turkey’s borders to the operation zone in northern Iraq’s Hakurk where “Operation Claw” has been ongoing since May 27.
The military offensive aims to eliminate the logistical assets of terrorists in the area, which is used for sneaking into Turkey. It began with artillery shelling, supported by airstrikes and commando operations.
The Turkish army has been carrying out its mission in the Euphrates Shield region in northern Syria, along with its mission of Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region of the neighboring country, Akar said. Turkey also has been making efforts to protect civilians in Idlib, Syria, along with preserving ceasefire and stability in the de-escalation zone, the minister noted.
Akar said the region where the Büyüktopraklı military base is located is now entirely under the control of the Turkish army, and “Operation Claw” is a follow-up offensive.
“In addition, we are making and will continue to make whatever is necessary to protect our nation’s rights and law in our seas [and] in the sky without interruption,” he said.
The Turkish Armed Forces is in an effort to make the best of the tasks given to them for the sovereignty, independence and security of the nation, the minister said, stressing that Turkish soldiers are determined to carry out this task.
The military will do its best to deserve the nation’s confidence, the minister added.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people.