Turkey: Military operation against PKK in southeast Turkey to finish soon
Young girls walk next to ruined houses and shops on March 8, 2016 during International Women's day in Cizre district. (AFP/Ilyas Akengin)
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Turkey's interior minister says the country's military operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Sur district of the southeastern city of Diyarbakir will finish soon in the light of victories against the militants.
Efkan Ala made the remarks during a Wednesday news conference in the capital city of Ankara, a day after similar operations were announced to be over in the border town of Idil.
Turkish security forces have been engaged in a large-scale campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the past few months. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the group in northern Iraq.
The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on Daesh.
After the bombing, the PKK militants, who accuse the government in Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of attacks against Turkish police and security forces, prompting the Turkish military operations.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said in a report earlier this month that more than 1,200 Kurdish militants had been killed during offensives in the southeastern city of Nusaybin, Dargecit and Derik districts in Mardin Province, Silvan and Sur districts of Diyarbakir Province, Varto district of Mus Province as well as Silopi, Cizre and Idil districts of Sirnak Province.
The report added that 2,307 ditches and barricades were also removed in the anti-PKK operations across Turkey. Moreover, nearly 3,000 improvised explosive devices planted in houses, gardens and on roads were dismantled in the operations.
The report, however, did not give the number of army soldiers killed in the anti-PKK offensives so far.
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party has strongly slammed Ankara’s military campaign in the Kurdish-populated areas, saying high civilian casualties amount to collective punishment.