Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar delivers Eid al-Fitr greetings to soldiers who have taken part in 'Operation Claw,' in Hakkari, Turkey, on June 4. (Arif Akdogan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Turkey ‘Neutralizes’ Kurds Sought in Northern Iraq Sweep

Turkey, though its Defense Ministry, says its forces “neutralized” 43 members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) during a military sweep launched two weeks ago across the border in the mountains of northern Iraq. The PPK, which once demanded that Kurdish areas in southwestern Turkey secede and form their own state, but now says it will settle for autonomy, has been outlawed in Turkey. Its leaders run it from outside the country’s borders and are believed to have a stronghold in the area swept by Turkish special forces with assistance from the Turkish air force and artillery units. The Defense Ministry statement failed to explain the meaning of “neutralized” but said its troops had destroyed over 50 explosive devices as well as caves and shelters used by PKK members, and captures weapons and ammunition. Defense Minister Hulusi Akar added that the operation, which the military has dubbed, “Operation Claw,” will continue until “the last terrorist is neutralized.”

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