UPDATES WITH NUMBER OF TERRORISTS NEUTRALIZED, EDITS THROUGHOUT
By Aynur Ekiz and Jeyhun Aliyev
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish security forces “neutralized” 15 PKK terrorists, including a wanted senior terrorist, in airstrikes in northern Iraq, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Friday.
Earlier, it was reported that three PKK terrorists were neutralized in the Gara region, however the ministry, later updated the number to 15 in a Twitter post.
The terrorists were neutralized on Sept. 16 in a counter-terrorism operation jointly conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces and National Intelligence Service (MIT), the ministry said.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
Identified as Mehmet Bayden with a code name Zinar Siyar Adiyaman, the wanted terrorist was a high-level member of the so-called intelligence structure of the PKK/KCK terror organization, the ministry said.
It was also learnt that Bayden joined the PKK terrorist organization in the early 1990s and was in charge for the finance of the group’s so-called headquarters. He was also responsible for the finance, transportation and logistics of the organization's so-called military wing HPG in Gare region.
On May 27, Turkey launched Operation Claw against the PKK in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq.
In mid-July and late August, Turkey also launched Operation Claw-2 and Operation Claw-3 in northern Iraq with the same purpose.
The ongoing offensives have neutralized dozens of terrorists so far.
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 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.