Turkey launched a new anti-terror operation in its eastern Bitlis province, the Interior Ministry announced Friday.

Operation Yildirim-12 aims to completely eliminate the separatist terror group PKK from the country and neutralize all terrorists hiding out in the region, the ministry said in a statement.

As many as 747 security personnel are taking part in the operation, including Gendarmerie Special Operations forces, police, and security guards, it added.

On Sept. 11, Operation Yildirim-11 was launched in the eastern Siirt province to neutralize PKK terrorists in the region.

A total of 71 terrorists have been neutralized, 38 collaborators captured, 141 caves, hiding spots, and storages destroyed, and a large quantity of arms, ammunition, and other supplies seized in Yildirim operations to date, the ministry said.

Turkish authorities often use the term “neutralized” to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

* Writing by Gozde Bayar

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