By Aykut Karadag
ANKARA (AA) - Since mid-July, Turkish security forces have neutralized at least 148 terrorists on Turkish territories as part of the country’s Yildirim anti-terror operations, a government official said on Friday.
During Yildirim operations, currently underway in 15 areas, Turkey has so far arrested 77 terrorist accomplices, Interior Ministry spokesman Ismail Catakli said during a monthly news conference in the capital Ankara.
In November operations, Turkey neutralized a total of 79 terrorists, including several on the ministry’s wanted list, Catakli said.
Turkey carried out a total of 9,770 counter-terrorism operations in rural areas and 1,325 in provincial areas in November, he added.
Security forces also destroyed 165 hideouts of terrorists, seized 84 guns, 57 mines, 72 hand grenades and 972 kilograms (nearly 2,143 pounds) of explosives, he said.
Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralized" to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
The first Yildirim operation, launched in the southeastern province of Sirnak on July 14, and its associated operations are meant to neutralize terrorists believed to be hiding out in eastern and southeastern Turkey.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
* Writing by Gozde Bayar