73 Kurdish militants neutralized in Iraq: Turkish military

Ankara [Turkey], May 7 (ANI/Sputnik): The number of militants affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) killed by the Turkish military during the ongoing operation in northern Iraq has risen to 73, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday.

The PKK is designated terrorist by Ankara. "The number of neutralized terrorists has risen to 73, the operation is successfully progressing," Akar told reporters. Ankara started the new military operation against the PKK in northern Iraq on April 17. Iraq has slammed the Turkish operation in its territory, saying it poses a threat to national security.

The military conflict between Turkey and the PKK began in 1984 and entered an active phase in 2015. PKK military bases located in the northern part of Iraq have been occasionally targeted by the Turkish armed forces. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that since July 2015, 6,000 PKK members have been killed in Turkey and 6,900 outside the country. Turkey has lost more than 1,200 military personnel in clashes with the PKK.