Turkish president says 5,359 PKK militants ‘killed, caught or wounded’ over eight months
Some 5,359 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been killed, caught or wounded in anti-terror operations since July 22, while some 355 security officials have lost their lives in terror attacks over the same period, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated.
“Some 5,359 terrorists were killed, wounded or caught inside and outside of Turkey through this period,” Erdoğan said in a speech addressing commanders-in-chief and military officers at the Turkish War Colleges in Istanbul on March 28.
Arguing that the country had to “pay a price” to exist in its region, Erdoğan vowed that none of the soldiers had died in vain.
“We made this territory our country with the blood of our martyrs over a thousand years. If we are to continue living here, we have to pay its price,” he said.
While providing figures about Turkey’s counter-terrorism efforts, Erdoğan also announced that the country has so far denied entry to some 38,000 foreign nationals for having links to terror organizations, deported some 3,500 militants and imprisoned around a thousand other suspects.
His remarks came soon after reports by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that 4,432 PKK militants have been killed since July 22 last year, while 377 security officials and 285 civilians were killed in terrorist attacks. Some 1,897 others were wounded during the same period.
Meanwhile, clashes continued in Turkey’s southeast on March 28.
The village head of Sarıören in the Siverek district of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, identified as İbrahim İnco, was killed and three soldiers were wounded in successive PKK attacks early on March 28.
Three soldiers were wounded as two PKK militants detonated an improvised explosive device they had previously placed under the road between Siverek and Viranşehir as a service shuttle passed carrying soldiers on duty at the Karageçi gendarmerie post.
The wounded soldiers were sent to Siverek State Hospital, while gendarmerie teams launched an operation to apprehend the militants responsible for the attack.
However, the militants stopped village head İnco’s automobile five kilometers from the scene of the incident, killed him, and extorted his vehicle in order to flee.
Another deadly attack was prevented on the same day in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, as 400 kilograms of explosives placed by PKK militants under the highway between Diyarbakır and the neighboring province of Batman were disposed of, Doğan News Agency reported.
The explosives, placed inside five tubes using some 2,000 meters of cable, were discovered by security officers from Diyarbakır’s provincial gendarmerie command during an effort to find explosives and mines on March 25.
The detonation of the explosives created a 2.5-meter-wide pit at the scene of the incident.
Over the weekend three soldiers and a policeman were killed in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Nusaybin district on March 27 while 32 PKK militants were killed.
Two soldiers were killed and five were wounded as an explosive placed by PKK militants detonated inside an abandoned building, trapping and wounding seven soldiers caught under the resulting debris. Gendarmerie Cpt. Halil Özdemir and Gendarmerie Specialized Sgt. İbrahim Etöz later succumbed to their injuries at the Nusaybin State Hospital.
Reports indicate that five wounded soldiers are receiving treatment at the same hospital.
In a separate attack in the district earlier on the same day, a soldier and a policeman were killed while one soldier and five police officers were wounded. Special operations police Coşkun Nazilli and specialized sergeant Vedat Aykut were killed as PKK militants opened fire at security forces in the district. The wounded security officials are being treated at a hospital, Turkish Armed Forces announced.
PKK militants also targeted firefighters in Nusaybin at around midday on March 27 when they were trying to put out a fire that had broken out at a house in the district’s Yenişehir neighborhood.
Another fire truck that was going for support also came under fire but nobody was injured.
The two trucks were abandoned and the firefighters were evacuated in another vehicle.
The injured fireman, Hacı Yıldız, was taken to the Nusaybin State Hospital before he was moved to the Mardin State Hospital.
The military said March 28 that 12 PKK militants were killed on the same day in Mardin, in addition to 16 in the southeastern province of Şırnak and four in Hakkari province’s Yüksekova district.