Turkish jets ‘neutralize’ 35 PKK militants in Kandil: Military
Turkish jets “neutralized” 35 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants as part of ongoing operations in northern Iraq, the military said on June 17.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
In a statement, the Turkish General Staff said the fighter jets had conducted airstrikes targeting PKK targets on June 15 in the Kandil region, the group’s headquarters.
On June 16, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the Turkish military hit a “critical” gathering of the PKK in Kandil.
“During these latest operations we have hit their very critical gathering. We have not received the results yet but it is certain that we have hit them,” Erdoğan told broadcaster Kanal 7.
Airstrikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq have been carried out regularly since July 2015, when a peace process between Ankara and the PKK broke down, but recently the Turkish military has stepped up the airstrikes, which officials refer to as “a new phase.”
Ankara has stepped up its warnings of a potential ground offensive in the Kandil Mountains. Erdoğan said he has recently discussed the issue with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and that the two “agreed to maintain regional security.”
Northern Iraq’s Kandil Mountains are situated close to the border between Iran and Iraq. Tehran holds significant influence over Iraq’s central government in Baghdad.
Turkey has also been in talks with Iraq about the potential offensive but Erdoğan said on June 16 that Ankara will wait to see a new government formed in Baghdad following May’s election there before continuing talks.