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Turkey Struck Over 500 Targets In Northern Iraq In First 36 Hours Of New Operation

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Turkey Struck Over 500 Targets In Northern Iraq In First 36 Hours Of New Operation

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On June 18th, the Turkish Ministry of Defense gave an update on its operation Claw-Tiger in Northern Iraq’s Haftanin region.

According to the security sources, in the first 36 hours of the operation, Turkish forces hit over 500 targets of the PKK terror group in the region with F-16 jets, howitzers and multiple rockets.

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar addressed the commanders of the troops via video link, saying: “Operation Claw-Tiger is going very well.”

“We will continue with the same seriousness and determination and hopefully we will successfully end this operation,” Akar said.

A video was released of Turkish-made helicopters carrying out operations against PKK in Northern Iraq.

The fact that Iraq has not taken any concrete step toward ending the presence of the PKK terrorist organization in the country has been met with regret in Turkey, the country’s ambassador to Baghdad said.

Fatih Yıldız’s remarks came after he was summoned by Iraq’s foreign ministry over the military operation Turkey launched against the PKK in the country’s north.

Baghdad handed a protest note to the ambassador after Turkey launched Operation Claw-Eagle on June 15th to ensure the security of the Turkish people and the country’s borders by neutralizing the PKK.

“I have said that the fact that Iraq has not taken any concrete step toward ending the presence of the PKK terrorist organization in the country has saddened Turkey,” Yıldız told Anadolu Agency.

“I also stressed to my Iraqi counterpart that Turkey had to take the necessary steps in the face of this situation within the framework of the right to self-defense arising from international law,” Yıldız said.

In a statement, Iraq’s foreign ministry said it condemned “a violation of (its) sovereignty” during the offensive by the Turkish security forces. The ministry said on Twitter that its undersecretary, Abdul Karim Hashim, had met Yıldız.

Turkey, however, is undeterred in its activities, be it in Northern Iraq, Northwestern and Northeastern Syria, as well as even in Libya.

The activities against PKK outside of Turkey are not at the expense of operations against PKK inside the country.

As of June 2020, there are reportedly 483 PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) members left in Turkey.

This was announced by Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on June 17th.

“We hope to see that the numbers will gradually fall below 400 first and then 300. Finally, we will see them all escaping out of fear,” Soylu said.

Turkey has designated PKK as a terrorist organization.

Turkish security forces regularly conduct operations in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey where the PKK has attempted to establish a strong presence.

The military has adopted “ending terrorism at its root” and “attack rather than defense” strategies through its operations across the country.

Some 122,054 operations, including 116,650 in rural areas, targeted PKK members in 2019 alone, successfully detained or killed many of the group’s top figures.

According to Interior Ministry data, there were between 835 and 1,995 PKK members in January 2017, while the number dropped to between 1,100 and 1,200 by January 2018, 755 to 876 in January 2019 and under 500 in January 2020, equating to an 83% drop over four years and the lowest figures in three decades.

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