10,657 PKK militants ‘neutralized’ in last two years: Turkish defense minister
A total of 10,657 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were “neutralized” in the last two years, according to Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık. He said that with the operations, the PKK has become “unable to carry out attacks.”
“The number of terrorists neutralized since July 23, 2015 until today is 10,657. This is a significant success. The terror group became unable to act,” Işık said in his address to soldiers in the border province of Kilis on June 11.
Turkish authorities use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the militants in question were either killed, incapacitated or captured.
“Other than attacks such as planting home-made explosives and firing mortar shells from far away, the PKK is unable to stage attacks. We will hopefully terminate this terror group completely and will take all necessary measures to prevent it from becoming a threat to this country once again,” Işık said.
Işık, along with Chief of the Army Gen. Salih Zeki Çolak, carried out examinations in a border post and a military base in Kilis, before heading to meet soldiers for an iftar dinner.
Saying that Turkey is going through the most successful period in its anti-terror struggle, Işık noted that the country is “trying to fight against more than three terrorist organizations.”
“Turkey is the only country that struggles against more than three terrorist groups, that keeps those groups under serious pressure and makes them suffer major losses. We are experiencing the most successful period of our 35-year-long anti-terror struggle,” he added.
During his speech, Işık said Turkey is also fighting against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), radical leftist terror groups and the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt.
“You are showing the world that no one can defeat this nation as long as our unity and solidarity continues. You’re writing a heroic story,” he added.
Işık expressed his condolences for 67 soldiers killed in the Euphrates Shield Operation carried out in northern Syria.
“You are our heroic friends who carried out the Euphrates Shield Operation with great success. The operation showed that our country won’t be indifferent to the region around it and that it’s determined to fight against terror,” he said.
In his speech, Işık talked about previous ISIL attacks on Kilis from northern Syria that claimed the lives of more than 25 people.
“With the Euphrates Shield Operation you cleared our borders from ISIL completely and saved the region from being a terror nest. In addition, you provided the security of our border districts and villages. At the same time, you hit a major blow to the terrorist organization PYD’s dreams of uniting cantons,” he added.