Turkey 'neutralizes' 7 PKK members in northern Iraq, vows to be terror-free by 2023

Turkey's Defence Ministry in Saturday said security forces had "neutralized" seven members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in an operation in northern Iraq.

"Our operations will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized," the ministry said on Twitter. 

Turkish authorities use the term "neutralised" to imply the people in question, usually members of the PKK, either surrendered or were killed or captured. 

Turkey routinely carries out attacks in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, the latest of which was launched in April.  

The PKK, an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for Kurdish self-rule for over 40 years, has several bases in northern Iraq, including its main headquarters in the Qandil mountains. It is recognised as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Saturday vowed to clear the country of all terrorist by October of 2023, Duvar news site reported.

"The issue of terror, the issue of ISIS, we are handling these,’’ Soylu said addressing an event of small business owners in Istanbul. “Our promise is that by October 2023, there will not be a single terrorist left in the borders of this country.” 

Oct. 2023 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurdish civilians, have been killed in conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state that began in 1984.

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