31 PKK militants ‘neutralized’ in Turkey over past week: Interior Ministry

31 PKK militants ‘neutralized’ in Turkey over past week: Interior Ministry

31 PKK militants ‘neutralized’ in Turkey over past week: Interior Ministry

A total of 31 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were “neutralized” in counter-terrorism operations across Turkey on Feb. 19-26, the Interior Ministry stated on Feb. 26.

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

The ministry said the security forces carried out a total of 1,161 counterterrorism operations over the last week.

It noted that three of the neutralized militants were killed, seven were captured and 21 others surrendered to the security forces.

During the operations 259 suspects were also detained for aiding and abetting the PKK, while 53 others were detained for suspected links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Another 646 people were detained over suspected links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), the term used for the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, widely believed to have orchestrated the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

In addition, 1.44 tons of explosive ordnance, 23 hand grenades, 15 heavy weapons, and 2,158 pieces of ammunition were seized in nationwide anti-terror operations, stated the ministry.

In operations across the eastern provinces of Hakkari, Şırnak, Bitlis, Mardin, Van, Diyarbakır and Tunceli, 26 PKK hideouts were also destroyed.

In the same statement, the Interior Ministry said a total of 845 suspects had been detained so far for spreading “terror propaganda” on social media and protesting against Turkey’s ongoing military operation in the northwestern Syrian district of Afrin.

After examining 423 social media accounts, the police’s cybercrime division launched legal proceedings against 251 suspects.

The Turkish Armed Forces launched “Operation Olive Branch” with elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) on Jan. 20 to clear the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Afrin.

Turkish army,