Turkey ‘neutralized’ 65 wanted militants in 2018: Interior minister

Turkey ‘neutralized’ 65 wanted militants in 2018: Interior minister

ÇANKIRI - Anadolu Agency
Turkey ‘neutralized’ 65 wanted militants in 2018: Interior minister

Turkey has neutralized 65 militants whose names were on the country’s wanted list in 2018, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said Sept. 18.

The Turkish Interior Ministry’s list of wanted terrorists is divided into five color-coded categories, with red being “most wanted,” followed by blue, green, orange and grey.

“Last year, we neutralized 63 terrorists in this [wanted terrorist] list. Before the end of this year, our sons [security personnel] neutralized 65 terrorists,” Soylu said in the Central Anatolian province of Çankırı.

Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

Soylu also recalled the anti-terror operation carried out on Sept. 17 in the eastern Tunceli province, which neutralized 10 more militants.

Reiterating his firm stance toward the fight against terrorism, Soylu said Turkey has recently “crossed out” the names in the wanted terror list.

The minister also said the PKK — which has “tried to divide this country for years citing ethnic differences as an excuse” — is close to draw the “last breath.”

On Sept. 13, a PKK militant listed in the grey category was “neutralized” in the eastern Bingöl province as part of Turkey’s latest counter-terror operations.

The militant was identified as Fırat Dağdelen, codenamed Şervan Çevlik, according to the Interior Ministry.

Meanwhile, security sources said nine YPG militants who were rounded up in Syria’s Afrin for killing two Turkish soldiers, appeared before a court on Sept. 18.

The militants were caught in a joint operation by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the Turkish gendarmerie forces in Syria’s Afrin city and were brought back to Turkey on Sept. 14.

They were reportedly involved in a Jan. 23 attack in the Rajo area of Afrin that killed Lt. Oğuz Kaan Usta and Specialist Sergeant Mehmet Muratdağı during Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” in northern Syria.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

Süleyman Soylu, Counterterrorism, PKK