The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have brought to an end an almost three-week operation against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in rural parts of the Şemdinli district in the southeastern province of Hakkari, a statement released by the Hakkari Governor's Office said on Saturday.
“The aerial-supported operations launched by our security forces on July 23, 2012 … were completed on the morning of Aug. 11, 2012,” said the statement. According to the statement, a large number of PKK terrorists were killed in the operations. The governor's office, however, did not indicate how many terrorists were killed. In an earlier announcement, Prime Minister had said 115 terrorists of the PKK had been killed in the operations.
The Turkish military kicked off large-scale operations in Şemdinli on July 23 when PKK terrorists blocked the road of a village in the region and interrogated villagers. Journalists and other non-residents were barred from entering Şemdinli for security reasons as the operations continued. The military destroyed depots of food, munitions and medicine belonging to the PKK in the area. In addition, Turkish fighter jets shelled targets of the terrorist organization in the Hakurk and Avaşin-Basyan areas in northern Iraq.
Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the United States, the PKK has been carrying out a bloody war in Turkey's Southeast since 1984. Dozens of soldiers and civilians have been killed in clashes with the PKK over the past months.
“As a result of the operations, conducted with determination and rigor, the terrorist PKK was unable to reach its cruel goals and a large number of its members have been rendered ineffective,” read the statement from the Hakkari Governor's Office. Sources close to the military had said the PKK was hoping to kick start an uprising in southeastern Turkey similar to the Arab Spring. The governor's office also extended its thanks to residents of Şemdinli for their “tolerance and understanding during the operations.” “The primary demand of Hakkari residents is to live in peace and security,” the office added.
Six Turkish soldiers and two village guards were killed and several others were wounded when the terrorist PKK attacked four military outposts in Hakkari on Aug. 5.
PM vows not to cede Turkish soil to PKK
In the meantime, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey will not cede even a small piece of its land to the terrorist PKK when speaking during an iftar, or fast-breaking dinner, sponsored by his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in İstanbul on Saturday.
The prime minister said the PKK does not represent Kurds. “The ones who shed blood during a holy month have nothing to do with our Kurdish brothers. We all know what their real objective is. And we also know who is behind attacks of the terrorist organization. ... We will not take steps backward as a result of the attacks. We will not allow terrorists to shape politics in Turkey,” he said.
In an earlier speech, Erdoğan had implied that Syria could be behind the latest attacks staged by the PKK against security forces in Turkey.