ANKARA, June 18 (Xinhua) — About 130 members of the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) have been killed since March in military operations inside Turkey and in northern Iraq, where the PKK rebels take refuge, a Turkish military official said Friday.
The Turkish security forces are continuing to fight against the PKK militants both in Turkey and in northern Iraq, said General Fahri Kir, chief of domestic security operational department of Turkey’s General Staff.
He said 43 military personnel also died during those military operations since March, adding that 60 PKK members surrendered to the Turkish security forces.
Kir said that 545 PKK members left PKK in 2009, and they believed 148 PKK members broke away from the organization in the first five months of 2010.
On May 20 alone, more than 100 PKK militants were killed in air raids in the Hakurk area in northern Iraq, said Kir, adding that another 20 PKK members were killed in northern Iraq this week.
The military is cooperating with the United States on intelligence to locate PKK members, said Kir.
The PKK have intensified attacks on the Turkish security forces recently, killing dozens of Turkish soldiers during the last two months.
The PKK took up arms in 1984 to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey and has been listed as a terrorist organization by the Turkish government, the United States and the European Union.
Some 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts fuelled by PKK ‘s separatist campaign in Turkey.