By Mehmet Tosun
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey has launched a new anti-terror operation in the country's east, the Interior Ministry announced Saturday.
Operation Yildirim-16 Sehi Forests in Bitlis province is aimed at completely eliminating separatist terror groups and neutralizing all terrorists hiding out in the region, the ministry said in a statement.
As many as 2,571 security personnel are taking part in the effort, including gendarmerie special forces, police and others, it added.
Although the statement did not mention any specific group, the PKK terror group has been active in eastern Turkey and the government has launched a series of operations this year to neutralize PKK terrorists in the region.
Detailing the achievements of Operation Yildirim since July 13, 2020, the statement said 148 terrorists were neutralized, 77 collaborators of terrorist organizations were arrested and more than 455 caves, shelters and a large amount of arms destroyed.
Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralized" to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
*Writing by Seda Sevencan