By Sarp Ozer
The Turkish army has dealt a heavy blow to terrorist activities, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.
Turkey conducts anti-terror operations inside the country and in northern Iraq to "neutralize" PKK terrorist organization.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralize" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either 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 U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people.
"The terror group is experiencing serious failure following our decisive fight. Their terror activities have been largely restrained. Hopefully, we will come to a position to completely neutralize them," Hulusi Akar said at an award ceremony in the capital Ankara on Friday.
Akar said the counter-terror efforts were "necessary and obligatory" for Turkey's security.
He also stressed the importance of protecting Turkey’s rights in Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
“We will continue to protect our rights and benefits in Aegean, in the Eastern Mediterranean and in ‘blue homeland'," he added.