Turkey: 17 terrorists in 5 provinces killed in 24 hours
Weapons and ammunition also seized in operations in southeastern provinces, says Interior Ministry
By Orhan Onur Gemici
Turkish security forces killed 17 PKK terrorists in operations in the last 24 hours, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday.
According to a ministry statement, security forces carried out counter-terrorism operations in the southeastern provinces of Mardin, Hakkari, Batman, Van, and Elazig over the last 24 hours.
During the operations, six terrorists each in Mardin and Elazig were killed, and three terrorists were killed in Van.
Security forces also killed one terrorist each in the Hakkari and Batman provinces, the statement said.
A number of weapons and pieces of ammunition were also seized during the operations, according to the statement.
Separately, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Turkey is rapidly eliminating the terrorist groups PKK, Daesh, and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind last year’s defeated coup attempt.
Speaking at a ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party congress meeting in the Black Sea district of Of, Soylu said: "The terror organization PKK is drowning, it can’t attract new members."
He added: "In the first eight months of 2016, 573 joined the terror organization. In the last eight months of 2017, currently the number is 72.”
Citing Turkey's nationwide counter-terror operations, Soylu said: "Through the intelligence we gathered from the terror group's wireless communication, we know the PKK is in a difficult situation.
"Especially in 2017, Turkish security forces carried out major combat everywhere. A total of 985 hideouts were destroyed in 2017 alone... Within the last year, 2,429 terrorists -- not including those from today -- were killed. This major combat will continue the same way with the same determination."
The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU -- resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015. Since then, it has been responsible for the deaths of around 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians.
Reporting by Orhan Onur Gemini; Writing by Merve Aydogan
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