Turkey has identified 10 of its 13 citizens, who were abducted and executed by the PKK terror group in northern Iraq, an official said on Sunday.
Aydin Barus, the governor of Turkey’s eastern province of Malatya, said at a news conference that an autopsy was being conducted for the martyred citizens, including security personnel abducted by the terror group between 2015 and 2016.
According to Barus, the abducted individuals were moved across various locations in northern Iraq for about six years and eventually brought to a PKK prison in the Gara region, where they were shot at close-range. One was shot in the chest and the other 12 in the head.
Most of the executed citizens were forcibly abducted by the terror group while they were traveling within Turkey. Among them are police officers Sedat Yabalak and Vedat Kaya, Sgt. Huseyin Sari, Sr. Sgt. Semih Ozbey, Pte. Adil Kavakli, Gendarmerie Pte. Suleyman Sungur, Specialized Sgt. Mevlut Kahveci, Pte. Muslum Altuntas and two civilians, Muhammet Salih Kanca and Aydin Kose.
He denied the terror group’s claims that the individuals were killed in Turkish strikes.
Barus said that the family members of the victims will be brought to Malatya so that they can identify the bodies.
He added that a ceremony will be held for the fallen martyrs in Malatya and expressed his condolences to the Turkish nation.
PKK terrorist neutralized
Turkey’s National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar earlier said a total of 48 PKK terrorists — including two senior operatives — were neutralized as part of Turkey’s military operation against a PKK hideout in Gara.
Turkish authorities use “neutralized” to imply that the terrorists in question surrendered, or were killed or captured.
The bodies of the citizens were found in the cave which was captured following intense clashes, according to Akar.
PKK terrorists often use northern Iraq as a base to plan cross-border terrorist attacks on Turkey.
Turkey launched Operation Claw-Eagle 2 on Wednesday in line with its right to self-defense according to international law to prevent the PKK/KCK and other terror groups from carrying out terror attacks against Turkey.
Turkey’s operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle were launched last June to ensure the safety of Turkish people and borders by eliminating the threat of the PKK and other terrorist groups that often use northern Iraq to plan cross-border attacks.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.