Turkish security forces in a cross-border operation supported by the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) eliminated a senior PKK terrorist figure in northern Iraq, reports said Friday.
Taybet Bilen, one of the so-called leaders of the terrorist organization PKK, was killed with two other terrorists in the operation organized in the Kirkuk countryside of northern Iraq.
Turkish security forces have ramped up their efforts against PKK terrorists at home and across the country's borders and have been carrying out successful operations to eliminate senior terrorists.
Turkish security forces regularly conduct counterterrorism operations in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey, where the PKK has attempted to establish a strong presence and bases. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) also carry out cross-border operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from which to carry out attacks in Turkey, with particular attention paid to targeting high-level terrorists.
Turkey has long been stressing that it will not tolerate terrorist threats posed against its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorist group. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps were not taken, it would not shy from targeting terrorist threats.
Turkey launched Operations Claw-Lightning and Claw-Thunderbolt on April 23 in northern Iraq’s Metina and Avashin-Basyan regions near its borders. The PKK are being heavily targeted in the Metina, Avashin-Basyan, Zap and Qandil regions in northern Iraq. In addition to F-16 fighter jets, the operations are being supported by border artillery units, fire support elements on the frontlines and attack helicopters.
In mid-2014, the PKK also managed to establish a foothold in Sinjar on the pretext that it was protecting the local Yazidi community from Daesh. Since then, the PKK has reportedly established Sinjar as a base for its logistical and command and control activities. Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) previously said that the PKK’s presence in Sinjar is unacceptable and called for the terrorists to leave the area.
The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than four decades and has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.
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