31 terrorists 'neutralized' in Turkey over past week
3 terrorists killed, 7 captured, 21 surrendered in operations conducted on Feb 19-26, Interior Ministry says
By Sertac Bulur
A total of 31 PKK terrorists were "neutralized" in counter-terrorism operations across Turkey on Feb. 19-26, said the country’s Interior Ministry on Monday.
In a statement, the ministry said the security forces carried out a total of 1,161 counterterrorism operations over the last week.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
The ministry noted that three of the neutralized terrorists were killed, seven were captured and 21 others surrendered to security forces.
During the operations, 259 suspects were also arrested for aiding and abetting the PKK terrorist organization, and 53 others for their suspected links to Daesh terrorist organization.
Another 646 people were arrested for suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen is responsible for the July 2016 defeated coup, which martyred 250 people and injured some 2,200, as well as a longstanding plot to infiltrate and undermine the government.
In addition, one ton and 441 kilograms of explosive ordnance, 23 hand grenades, 15 heavy weapons as well as nearly 2,158 pieces of ammunition were seized in nationwide anti-terror operations, said the ministry.
26 hideouts destroyed
In operations across the eastern provinces of Hakkari, Sirnak, Bitlis, Mardin, Van, Diyarbakir and Tunceli, 26 terrorist hideouts were also destroyed.
In the same statement, the Interior Ministry said a total of 845 suspects had been arrested so far for spreading terror propaganda on social media and protesting against Turkey's operation in Syria's northwestern Afrin region.
After examining 423 social media accounts, the Turkish police’s cybercrime division launched legal proceedings against 251 suspects.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and the "utmost importance" is being put on avoiding harm to civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the YPG/PKK since July 2012 when the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.
Reporting by Sertac Bulur:Writing by Merve AydoganAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.