21 PKK militants ‘neutralized’ across Turkey in last week: Interior Ministry

21 PKK militants ‘neutralized’ across Turkey in last week: Interior Ministry

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
21 PKK militants ‘neutralized’ across Turkey in last week: Interior Ministry

Twenty-one militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were “neutralized” in counter-terrorism operations across Turkey between March 12 and March 19, said the Interior Ministry on March 19.

The ministry said in a statement that security forces had carried out 1,171 counter-terrorism operations in the past week.

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

The ministry specified that 13 of the “neutralized” militants were killed and two were captured while six surrendered to authorities.

During the operations, 536 people were also detained for aiding and abetting the PKK and 39 others for their suspected links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Another 537 people were detained for suspected links to the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind the failed coup in 2016 and two others for links to leftist militant groups.

In addition, 576 kilograms of explosive ordinance, 111 hand grenades, 53 weapons and 10,477 pieces of ammunition were seized in nationwide operations, said the ministry.

In operations across the southeastern and eastern provinces of Mardin, Şırnak, Mus, Tunceli, Hakkari, Siirt, Bitlis, Diyarbakır, as well as the southern Kahramanmaraş province, 76 PKK hideouts were also destroyed.

Security forces also detained 1,114 suspects for crimes related to terrorism and 100 others for organized migrant trafficking crimes.

After examining 544 social media accounts, the Turkish police’s cybercrime division launched legal proceedings against 297 suspects.

Additionally, a total of 3,896 anti-drug and -contraband operations were carried out, during which 5,110 suspects were captured, according to the statement.

The raids led to the seizure of 455 kg of marijuana, 176 kg of heroin, 1.24 million pills or other forms of other illegal drugs and nearly 174 tons and 731 liters of smuggled oil.