Turkish soldier killed by PKK terror attack in northern Iraq

A Turkish soldier was killed in a terrorist attack in northern Iraq, the Defense Ministry said Sunday.

Infantry Contract Private Mustafa Öztürk was killed after PKK terrorists opened fire at a military base zone, the ministry said.

Three soldiers were also injured in the attack.

The Defense Ministry conveyed condolences to the soldier’s family, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the Turkish people.

Some 429 terrorists have been eliminated so far within the scope of Operation Claw-Lock carried out in northern Iraq, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Thursday, underlining that Türkiye would continue its struggle against terrorism.

The Turkish military is working relentlessly to eradicate terrorism at its roots, Akar said during a meeting with high-level military officials close to the border in Hakkari province’s Yüksekova district.

The TSK is close to taking full control of the Operation Claw-Lock area in northern Iraq, Akar indicated.

More than 540 terrorist lairs and caves have been cleared and 1,808 mines and handmade explosives planted by terrorists have been destroyed so far within the scope of the operation, Akar added.

Operation Claw-Lock is an ongoing cross-border military operation Türkiye launched in April 2022 to target the PKK terrorist group’s hideouts in Iraq’s northern Metina, Zap and Avashin-Basyan regions near its border.

“We will rid Zap of terrorists and bring the entirety of our borders under lock,” he vowed.

He also revealed there were “serious signs” indicating the terrorist group is “in a state of collapse.”

“Their ringleaders cannot go to sleep in the same spot two nights in a row,” Akar said.

With Operation Claw-Lock, Turkish troops have infiltrated all bunkers, shelters and caves the terrorists use as their so-called bases, Akar said, adding: “Our soldiers have entered places that used to be considered ‘unreachable.’ They continue this fight with great determination, decisiveness and success.”

He added that the Turkish troops show high sensitivity to make sure no harm comes to civilians, innocent people, historical, religious and cultural structures or the environment.

He underscored that Türkiye’s sole target is terrorists. “Everyone must know we don’t have any other target.”

Turkish security forces regularly conduct counterterrorism operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from which to carry out attacks against Türkiye.

Türkiye has long been stressing that it will not tolerate terrorist threats against its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorist group. Ankara previously noted that it would not shy away from targeting terrorist threats if the expected steps were not taken.

In the last two years, the intensifying operations in northern Iraq have demolished terrorist lairs in Metina, Avashin-Basyan, Zap and Gara. After eradicating the group’s influence in these regions, Türkiye also aims to clear Qandil, Sinjar and Makhmour.

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