By Mehmet Tosun
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish intelligence and army have “neutralized” two PKK terrorists, who plotted an armed attack that martyred a Turkish diplomat in northern Iraq's Erbil, according to security sources on Thursday.
Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) launched a joint counter-terrorism operation when two Erbil attack plotters were travelling in a vehicle in Iraq’s Gara region on July 30, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.
PKK-affiliated TAK terror group's senior operative Haci Kurhan, codenamed Botan, and Metin Akgun, codenamed Kendal, were “neutralized” during the operation.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
In July 17, Osman Kose, who was serving at Turkey's Consulate General in Erbil, was martyred in an armed attack at a restaurant. Apart from the diplomat, two Iraqi nationals sitting at the next table were also killed.
Kurhan had been in the blue category of the Interior Ministry's wanted list and carried out several terror attacks.
The wanted list is divided into five color-coded categories, with red as the most wanted, followed by blue, green, orange and gray.
Haci Kurhan, born in 1976, joined the PKK in 2002 and he was one of the terror group’s members whom ringleader Murat Karayilan trusted most. Kurhan was responsible for PKK's Haftanin camp in Iraq in 2005.
His sister was also a senior PKK member who operated in Al-Hasakah and Qamishli regions of Syria in 2015.
Kurhan was responsible for training the newly joined terrorists in Syria before they were sent to Adana, Mersin and Tarsus for terror attacks. It was revealed that Kurhan was planning terror acts in touristic and strategically important places in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions in 2015.
He was responsible for Syria-Turkey borderline in March 2016 and also in charge of PYD/YPG's so-called Rojava special forces and anti-terrorism unit.
He was a senior operative in PKK's special forces in Iraq's Amadiye region when he was assigned to a high-level position in TAK, one of PKK's terror groups.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including many women, children and infants.