Turkish military stages major operation against PKK in southeast
AA photoThe Turkish Armed Forces have staged a major operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the country’s southeast, with dozens of militants “neutralized” in the last couple of days and over the past week.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on May 26 described the security forces’ operation in the region as “one of the biggest operations in the past 30 years, launched on Mount Tendürek” in the eastern province of Ağrı.
“Most of the clashes continued at a range between 30 and 50 meters and we have not had any martyrs yet at this point,” Soylu said at a police graduation ceremony in Istanbul.
However, he said three soldiers and one village guard were later killed in a sharpshooter attack.
“Our security forces have neutralized nine terrorists as of yesterday [May 25]. This number rose to 25 from around midnight. Finally, five more terrorists were spotted and we followed them from the command center. A huge struggle was waged there until they were neutralized,” Soylu said.
Authorities use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the militants in question were either killed, wounded or captured.
Prior to Soylu’s remarks, the Ağrı Governor’s Office had stated that 29 PKK militants were “neutralized” during a gendarmerie special forces operation in the eastern province after three trucks were set on fire on the Van-Çaldıran motorway.
Three specialized sergeants and one village guard were killed in the clash, it said.
In addition, Turkish warplanes also launched an air strike targeting PKK militants in the Metina region of northern Iraq late on May 25, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
It was the second such air strikes by the Turkish military in the region in a single day.
Three PKK militants were “neutralized” and two gun emplacements were destroyed in the air strike, bringing the total number of “neutralized” militants in the region throughout the day to six.
Separately, the Turkish Armed Forces also announced that a total of 45 PKK militants were “neutralized” during operations conducted over the past week in the country’s eastern and southeastern provinces.
The militants were “neutralized” during operations conducted in Şırnak’s Beytüşşebap, Bestler-Dereler and Mount Cudi regions, Hakkari’s Yüksekova region, Diyarbakır’s Dicle region, Erzurum’s Şenkaya region and Ardahan’s Göle region between May 18 and May 25.
Three rocket-launchers, five machine guns, 13 infantry riffles, 43 hand-grenades and 27 hand-made explosives were seized along with around 2,000 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, 110 kilograms of TNT, four kilograms of A4 explosive and more than 5,000 light weapon ammunitions, it added.
Some 26 sanctuaries and storages used by the militants were also destroyed, it said.
According to the military, six soldiers and one security guard were also killed and 15 others were wounded in the operations.
Meanwhile, one soldier was killed and another two were wounded early on May 26 in a PKK attack in the Çukurca district of the southeastern province of Hakkari, Doğan News Agency has reported.
Militants detonated a hand-made explosive placed in the Avuş Tepe region, killing one specialized sergeant and wounding two others during their operation in the region at around 4:00 a.m.
The wounded were immediately transferred to Hakkari for treatment and a wide-scale operation was launched by the security forces against the militants.