By Erdinc Aksoy
ZONGULDAK (AA) - Turkish security forces have dealt a severe blow to the PKK terror organization since late last July, neutralizing a total of 7,600 terrorists in that period.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking Tuesday at an iftar dinner at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, said that in ongoing operations since July 20, 2015, Turkish forces have neutralized 7,600 terrorists both inside the country and abroad. (Turkish authorities use “neutralized” to refer to the number of terrorists killed or caught or surrendered, whether injured or not.)
The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization also by the U.S., and the EU -- resumed its 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state about 11 months ago.
Breaking its pattern of attacks in mainly rural areas, the terror organization began to commit attacks in cities and now even during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Since late last July, around 500 security personnel, including troops, police officers, and village guards, have been martyred in PKK terror attacks.
The latest terror attacks were carried out this week, when a car bomb exploded in central Istanbul on Tuesday, killing 11 people, made up of six policemen and five civilians.
On Wednesday, three police officers, including two female police officers (one pregnant at the time), were martyred and three civilians were killed in a car bomb attack on a police station in Mardin’s Midyat district.
The Turkish army, in cooperation with the police, has staged broad anti-terror operations in the provinces of Mus, Mardin, Diyarbakir, Sirnak, Hakkari, Van, and Bingol.
The operations were focused at clearing cities of PKK terrorists, filling in trenches, removing barricades, and destroying thousands of explosive traps.
According to data from security forces compiled by Anadolu Agency, a total of 4,600 terrorists have been killed inside Turkey, including 700 in the Sirnak province’s Cizre district, 507 in Central Sirnak, 496 in Mardin’s Nusaybin district, and 300 in Diyarbakir’s Sur district.
Separately, Turkish jets heavily struck PKK objectives in the Metina, Kakkurk, Gara, Zap and Qandil regions in northern Iraq. Since July 2015, a total of 3,000 terrorists, including some on the organization’s so-called leaders, have been neutralized in airstrikes.
Additionally, many weapons and ammunition depots, shelters, and caves used by the PKK terror organization have been destroyed in airstrikes.