Turkish security forces launched a joint counterterror operation in eastern and southeastern provinces with the participation of 129 security force teams, the Ministry of Interior announced Monday.
According to a statement by the ministry, "Operation Kıran" is being carried out to neutralize PKK terrorists and destroy encampments and shelters in dozens of districts, villages and valleys located in Hakkari, Şırnak and Van provinces.
The statement said 43 caves used as shelters by the terrorists were destroyed during the first hours and that the operation would continue until the terrorists were neutralized.
Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralize" in statements to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
Gendarmerie forces commander Gen. Arif Çetin will be in charge of the operation, while two brigadier generals and a colonel will act as field commanders in the provinces, the statement said.
Some 129 teams from gendarmerie, police and village guard forces are taking part in the operation.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.