Turkey's recent military operations against the PKK has led to internal strife within the terrorist group, as members turned against each other in a blame game for their losses, a number of terrorists who surrendered have confessed.
In their testimonies, the terrorists said that many of PKK's backers and suppliers, who provided weapons, ammunition, and equipment, have turned their back on the terrorist organization. This has led to the arrests of many of its members.
"The PKK ranks have thinned, forcing the separatist terrorist group to hide its casualties and pressure current members not to leave," said Murat Aslan, an assistant professor at Gaziantep's Hasan Kalyoncu University. The southeastern city has faced a number of PKK attacks in recent years. In recent counterterrorism operations, Turkish forces have killed many high-ranking PKK terrorists, including a dozen on Turkey's most wanted list.
Turkish armed and unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have played an active role in the fight against the PKK. They helped target a number of senior PKK figures and logistical camps, in Turkey's eastern and southeastern provinces as well as in northern Iraq. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said yesterday that the number of PKK recruits has also gone down, with only 61 people joining the terrorist group so far this year.
"On the other hand, we have convinced 91 people, with the help of their families, to surrender. This means that the group's influence on our people has gone down," Soylu said.
Meanwhile, at least seven terrorists have been killed during an operation in eastern Turkey's Tunceli and Kars, the Interior Ministry confirmed yesterday. In a statement, the ministry said that the provincial gendarmerie unit had launched an anti-terrorism operation that killed five militants in Tunceli and two in Kars. In another development, Vehbi Taş, a wanted PKK terrorist was killed on Aug. 7, the Turkish General Staff said Monday. Taş, codenamed Serkeft Şiyar, was in the orange category of Turkey's most wanted list. The list classifies terrorists in different color groups - red, blue, green, orange and gray - depending on the level of threat they pose to Turkey's national security.
The General Staff on its official Twitter account said that Taş was among four PKK terrorists killed in an air-backed operation in a rural area of southeastern Turkey's Şırnak.
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