By Sertac Bulur
A total of 42 terrorists, including three on Turkey’s wanted list, were “neutralized” during counter-terrorism operations across Turkey over the past week, the Interior Ministry said Monday.
In a statement, the ministry said the Turkish Armed Forces carried out 1,483 counter-terrorism operations on May 21-28 with the assistance of land and air forces.
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 said 21 of the terrorists were killed, six others were captured, and 15 surrendered to authorities.
Among the neutralized terrorists were three senior members of the terrorist group PKK, all on the ministry’s wanted list.
During the operations, 140 people were arrested for allegedly aiding and abetting the PKK terrorist group and 33 others for their suspected links to the Daesh terrorist group.
Also, another 545 people were arrested for suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the July 2016 defeated coup, which martyred 250 people and injured nearly 2,200, and seven others for their links to leftist terrorist groups.
Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU, the PKK has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people since the mid-1980s.
Security forces also destroyed 11 shelters, including several caves and seven improvised explosives, during operations in the eastern provinces of Bitlis, Siirt, Tunceli, Diyarbakir, and Kars, the statement said.
In addition, they seized 268 kilograms (573 pounds) of explosives materials, 18 hand grenades, 29 assorted weapons, and 3,541 rounds of ammunition.
During the operations, security forces also arrested 730 suspects for crimes related to terrorism, and 75 others for organized migrant trafficking crimes, while more than 3,204 people were held for crimes related to drugs and smuggling.
After examining 754 social media accounts, the Turkish police’s cybercrime division launched legal proceedings against 420 suspects.
- Anti-drug, contraband operations
Additionally, a total of 2,380 anti-drug and -contraband operations were carried out, during which 484 suspects were captured, according to the statement.
The raids led to the seizure of 868 kg (1,913 Ibs.) of marijuana, 349 kg (769 lbs.) of heroin, some 20,239 pills or other forms of illegal drugs, and over 57 tons (1,810 gallons) of smuggled oil.