In April, Turkey inflicted heavy blows with its successful counterterrorism operations both inside and outside its borders to the YPG/PKK terrorist organization, which has been menacing the country and killed tens of thousands of citizens in a decadeslong terror campaign.
Some 122 terrorists, including senior members of the group, were killed by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), police, gendarmerie and the National Intelligence Organization's (MİT) efforts to thwart attacks on the country's peace and harmony, according to an Anadolu Agency (AA) tally from news reports.
Two Turkish security officials and seven civilians died, while three security officers were injured in the anti-terror operations.
On April 10, terrorist Mahmut Oktay, code-named Hayri Mava, was apprehended when a suspicious vehicle was stopped in Muş province.
Similarly, PKK terrorist Abdurrahman Kayıhan, also known as Andok, surrendered on April 19 in Kızıltepe in southeastern Mardin province after being persuaded to do so by security forces. According to the Interior Ministry, since Jan. 1, 2020, a total of 71 PKK terrorists have turned themselves in to security forces.
There has been a surge in the number of terrorists laying down arms and surrendering to Turkish security forces after a series of successful domestic and cross-border anti-terror operations. Many terrorists lack the courage to leave the group because they face severe punishment if caught.
On April 22, Resul Özdemir, also called Zibo, was brought to Turkey through cooperation between the MİT and Swedish authorities. He was a member of the PKK's youth wing.
On April 29, Hafize Özdemir, or Zin Avesta, a senior wanted terrorist, was found dead in a cave in eastern Tunceli province. Her fellow terrorists left her to die by blocking her from receiving cancer treatment. She was in the red category of the Interior Ministry's wanted list. The list is divided into five color-coded categories, with red as the most wanted, followed by blue, green, orange and gray.
Joining the terrorist organization in 1993, Özdemir was responsible for their women's groups in Turkey's eastern Tunceli province. She was also one of the security guards of ringleader Abdullah Öcalan, according to the ministry.
Meanwhile, the PKK's Çemçe group was destroyed when seven terrorists, including four on Turkey's wanted list, were killed during an operation in a rural area of Çemçe in the Kağızman district of the eastern Kars province in the last two days of April.
Conversely, terrorists killed a worker in Mardin on April 3, five civilians in Diyarbakir on April 8 and another worker in Şırnak on April 14.
Two soldiers were killed on April 15 and April 25 respectively in northern Iraq's Hakurk and Haftanin regions.
Turkish security forces continue their fight against terrorism both in cities and rural areas and in cross-border operations.
Ramping up its fight against terrorists, Turkey launched Operation Kapan in the country’s southeast in January after it had completed Operation Kıran, launched last August.
Turkish security forces regularly conduct counterterrorism operations in the eastern and southeastern provinces of the country, where the PKK has attempted to establish a strong presence and numerous bases. The TSK also carries out cross-border operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from where they carry out attacks on Turkey. The operations were intensified after July 2018 and gradually became routine.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.