Turkey neutralizes 18,500 PKK terrorists since 2015: Defense minister

Turkey has "neutralized" 18,502 members of the PKK terrorist organization since July 24, 2015, and 1,976 have been "neutralized" since the beginning of this year, the country's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sept. 17. 

Speaking at a program organized for Veterans Day at the ministry, Akar said Turkey continues to fight for its security with determination both nationally and internationally.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

Turkey has carried out a series of offensives against terrorist groups in northern Iraq since 2019, particularly against the PKK. The latest ones are Pençe-Şimşek and Pençe-Yıldırm operations launched this April in Metina and Avaşin-Basyan regions.

The terrorist group often uses bases in northern Iraq, just across Turkey's southern border, to plot terror attacks in Turkey.

In its over 35-yearlong terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK - listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU - has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

Akar also mentioned that the operations will keep going on till the neutralization of the last terrorist. 

Cyprus issue, Eastern Mediterranean

In addition to the fight against terrorism, the defense minister said that activities continue on land, at sea, and in the air, with perseverance and determination to protect the rights, relevance, and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Cyprus, and in the Aegean Sea.

"We sincerely believe that the problems between us and our neighbor Greece can be solved following international law, in the...

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