Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says Islamic State and PKK must be eliminated as 69 Kurdish militants are killed in a southeastern offensive. Natasha Howitt reports.
As security forces step up operations against Kurdish militants in Turkey's southeast, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan vows to annihilate them. Speaking from Istanbul, he called for "cutting out" the organization that "torments [his] Kurdish brothers and threatens [the] country's stability'. He also referred to eliminating Islamic State, which he called an "exploitation machine". The number of Kurdish militants killed in four days of operations has risen to 69. Security and military sources say two Turkish soldiers have also been killed. The offensive is aimed at militants from the PKK, also known as the Kurdistan Workers Party. Media reports say 10,000 police and troops, backed by tanks, are taking part. Operations are focused around two towns near the Syrian and Iraqi borders. Both are under curfew - as gunfire and explosions echo through the streets, those who snuck out group together and rush home. A two-year ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK fell apart in July, reviving a three-decade long conflict that has claimed more than 40,000 lives. The PKK is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.