Nearly 800 detained over suspected links to PKK/KCK in two days: Interior minister
Nearly 800 people have been detained over their suspected links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party/Kurdistan Communities Union (PKK/KCK) in two days, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said March 18, adding that a “major struggle” against the group was being led.
“Just last week, we ‘neutralized’ a total of 60 terrorists. I want you to know that a major struggle is being led. Nearly 800 people were detained over links to the PKK and KCK yesterday and the day before that. Some of those are terrorists and some of them are in urban structures. There are also those who are message carriers,” Soylu said in the Black Sea province of Trabzon.
Turkish authorities use the word “neutralized” to imply the militants in question were either killed, incapacitated or captured.
Soylu said operations were ongoing in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır, Şırnak and Hakkari and the eastern province of Van.
“From rural Lice [district in Diyarbakır] to Gabar [Mountain], from Tendürek [Mountain] to Şırnak and the Hakkari borderline, our sons are trying to save our country from the terror trouble and terrorists, without sleeping night or day. Some 7,000 of our sons are in Lice. They are searching for those who give the orders to stage bomb attacks between Lice and [the eastern province of] Bingöl,” he said.
Soylu, in a speech in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman on March 19, said some 11,738 operations were carried out in Lice and the southeastern province of Mardin in the last six months and a total of 800 shelters belonging to the PKK were destroyed.
“I can clearly say that Turkey is in its most powerful period in terms of the struggle against terror. It is also closest to ending terror. Our heroes and sons are carrying out operations in minus 30 degrees. Some 156 major incidents were prevented, four suicide bombers and 21 suspected of preparing for attacks were apprehended and 22 bomb-laden cars were seized in the last six months. In order to narrow the space of terrorists, our teams are continuing road searches. In 2017, some 7,720,330 cars were questioned and procedures were carried out on 92,519 of them,” he said.
Security forces have increased operations against the PKK due to the approaching Newroz. Police on March 19 closed the entrance to Istanbul’s Bakırköy subway station as part of security measures. Authorities have already banned Newroz celebrations in the district.
According to the ministry, the authorities aimed to prevent the winter structure of the outlawed group from carrying out attacks in the cities. In addition to a number of PKK-related documents, security forces also seized one Kalashnikov, four unlicensed guns, 14 shotguns and 246 fireworks.
Elsewhere, curfews were imposed in three regions of Bingöl as a part of the security operations against the PKK on March 19. The operation was launched in the Sağgöze, Honkunüs and Yeniçe neighborhoods.