By Orhan Onur Gemici and Sertac Bulur
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish security forces launched a domestic operation against the PKK terror group in the country’s east and southeast, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.
The large scale offensive was launched in eastern Van and southeastern Hakkari and Sirnak provinces on Sunday, the ministry said in a written statement.
Some 130 teams of police, gendarmerie, and village guards joined the counter-terrorism operation, it added.
A total of 43 caves and shelters used by terrorists have been destroyed so far, read the statement, adding the operation will resolutely continue until all terrorists will be neutralized in the region.
Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralize" in statements to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
Gendarmerie forces commander Gen. Arif Cetin is coordinating the operation from Hakkari, the statement noted.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar