As Turkey paid its final respects to five special ops police officers who were killed in clashes with the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Şırnak on Wednesday, security units killed nine PKK militants and lost one of their own in the third day of clashes with the PKK in a forest bordering Bitlis and Siirt on Friday.
Operations against the militants have been continuing in various parts of the Southeast.
Security forces intensified their focus during the operations in the provinces of Siirt and Bitlis. A group of PKK militants were seen in Sehi Forest, which borders Siirt and Bitlis, on Friday. Security units called on the militant group to surrender; however, a clash ensued when the militants refused to surrender and instead opened fire on security units.
A village guard and a sergeant were wounded when the clashes first broke out. Special Ops squads of the Siirt 2nd Brigade Command launched a heavy attack on militant with the help of air units, who backed the special ops teams with Cobra helicopters. Military officials state the operations against the PKK in the region will continue until the region is cleared of militants.
Meanwhile, Cobra attack helicopters targeted a group of 30-40 PKK militants holed up on Cudi Mountain in Şırnak on Thursday. As the clashes between security forces and the PKK continued on Thursday, a PKK member was captured by troops that descended on the mountain from helicopters. There are reports that in addition to an officer killed, at least six special ops police officers were wounded in the battles, but further details about their identities have not been released. Prior to the operation, police forces asked the military to conduct air operations since the location of the militants was not suitable for a land operation.
Turkey pays final respects to officers killed in Şırnak
Funerals were held in five provinces on Friday for the five special ops police officers who were killed in clashes with the PKK on Cudi Mountain on Wednesday.
In a statement released on Thursday, the National Police Department identified the slain soldiers and offered its condolences to the Turkish nation.
The bodies of the slain officers were sent to their hometowns on Thursday after an official funeral ceremony in Şırnak on Thursday. Further funeral ceremonies were held in Adana, Kahramanmaraş, İzmir, Antalya and Yozgat. The funeral prayers for the killed officers were held after the Friday prayer and attended by many statesmen and army officials.
In the meantime, the National Police Department sent an official letter to counterterrorism units across the country, calling on them to tighten security measures as the PKK has recently stepped up its campaign of violence.
The letter warned the anti-terror units that PKK members are in preparation for simultaneous attacks, adding that their primary targets are security forces and buildings affiliated with the police department. The department also demanded security measures be tightened in public spaces such as metro stations, shopping centers and on public transport.