Turkish police have detained at least 40 people in a sweep targeting a separatist Kurdish rebel organization.

Police raided areas in major cities and predominantly Kurdish regions Tuesday.  News reports said one of those detained is a deputy chairman of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, which has 21 seats in Turkey's parliament.

Kurdish politicians in Turkey are often accused of supporting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting for Kurdish rule in the southeast since 1984.  Ankara and much of the international community consider the PKK a terrorist group.

Turkey's army chief Ilker Basbug said Tuesday that the PKK has lost considerable strength, and is, in his words, "losing blood."  He made the comment Tuesday in a speech at a military academy in Istanbul.

General Basbug said the rebels can no longer move about in large groups in Turkey or in northern Iraq's largely autonomous Kurdish region.   

He added that some European nations have implemented measures that have disrupted the rebel group's finances.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.