By Merve Yildizalp Ozmen
ANKARA (AA) – A Turkish soldier in northern Iraq was martyred when a bomb planted by terrorists went off, the Turkish National Defense Ministry said Sunday.
The ministry said in a statement that the soldier was martyred in the Operation Pence-Simsek area due to the blast from the improvised explosive device (IED).
"We wish Allah's mercy to our heroic martyr, our condolences and patience to his precious family, the Turkish Armed Forces and the nation," the ministry added.
Turkey on Friday launched Operations Pence-Simsek and Pence-Yildirim in northern Iraq’s Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions near Turkey’s borders, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced early Saturday.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said later Saturday that the operation aims to completely eliminate the terrorist threat along Turkey’s southern borders.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in statements to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
The PKK terrorist group often uses bases in northern Iraq just across Turkey’s southern border to hide and plot terrorist attacks in Turkey.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.