Turkish forces “neutralized” a senior member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization in Turkey, during an operation in Iraqi Sinjar, the Turkish general staff said on Wednesday.
“Ismail Ozden, a member of the PKK executive committee and the terrorist group’s senior figure in Sinjar… was eliminated during an operation conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces and intelligence on August 15,” the general staff said on Twitter.
Ozden was on the list of the most wanted PKK militants abroad, according to the general staff.
Tensions between Ankara and the Kurds escalated in July 2015 when a ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK collapsed over a series of terror attacks allegedly committed by the PKK members. The Turkish forces are involved in anti-PKK raids across the country and in northern Iraq.
The PKK’s main base is reportedly located in the Qandil Mountains, an Iraqi mountainous area near the Iranian border.
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Ankara and Baghdad have reached an agreement on cooperation in combating militants from the PKK.
Ankara’s struggle with the PKK has been ongoing for almost four decades since the early 1980s. The PKK militants are currently seeking autonomy within Turkey for Kurds, which represent the country’s largest ethnic minority, and the recognition of their civil and political rights.