474 detained last week in Turkey for ‘promoting PYD/PKK on social media’
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
A total of 474 suspects were detained across Turkey last week for “promoting” the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) on social media, the Interior Ministry stated on Feb. 12.
In a written statement, the ministry said Turkish security forces arrested the suspects during nationwide raids, amid the military’s ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” in the northeastern Syrian district of Afrin.
Some 192 suspects were also detained over involvement in protests against the Afrin operation.
Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” along with elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) on Jan. 20, aiming to remove the YPG from Afrin.
The statement added security forces carried out 1,053 counter-terror operations between Feb. 5 and Feb. 12. Some 25 militants were “neutralized” in these operations, 353 were captured on charges of aiding and abetting the PKK, and 66 others were taken into custody for alleged links to ISIL, the ministry added.
The Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or detained.
FETÖ suspects also detained
Police also detained 568 more people over suspected ties to the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), believed to have been behind Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt, according to the Interior Ministry.
The statement said that 57 shelters and caves used by PKK militants and 10 improvised explosive devices and mines were destroyed in controlled detonations in the provinces of Batman, Bingöl, Bitlis, Diyarbakır, Hakkari, Hatay, Mardin, Siirt, Şırnak, Tunceli and Van.
During the operations, security forces also seized 790 kilograms of explosive material, 15 hand grenades, 6,107 rounds of ammunition and 21 weapons, including 20 long-barreled guns and heavy weapons, it added.
Additionally, 2,885 anti-narcotics and anti-contraband operations were carried out, during which 4,972 suspects were captured in nationwide operations, according to the statement.
The raids led to the seizure of 4,833 tons of hashish, 312 kg of heroin, 5.2 kg methamphetamine, 314,347 illegal drugs, 457,825 packages of smuggled cigarettes, and over 46,266 liters of smuggled oil.