Karlov assassination leading to interesting developments: Turkish interior minister
AA photoThe investigations into the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, are producing “interesting developments,” according to Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.
“The information obtained is leading to interesting developments,” Soylu said at the Ninth Ambassador Conference in Ankara late on Jan. 11, adding that “it became right away clear where the incident is leading to.”
Karlov was assassinated by police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş on Dec. 19, 2016, at the Contemporary Arts Center in Ankara. Altıntaş was killed on the scene after refusing to surrender to police officers.
During his speech, Soylu spoke about the ongoing operations against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have masterminded the July 2016 coup attempt, arguing that operations should be carried out with more intensity.
“I would like to say that the faith and determination of those who say that we should be more decisive in the operations clearly resonate with me. What I mean is that we are going less intensely, but we must be going very intensely,” he said in reply to criticisms against the FETÖ operations.
Noting that Turkey was in a struggle against FETÖ, “which infiltrated into state organizations for years,” Soylu said FETÖ was not a terrorist organization that Europe was used to, adding that plenty of European countries still perceive FETÖ as a “charity organizations that open schools.”
“I, of course, would like to say that a terrorist organization that we’ve been struggling against for 24 hours a day has been wiped out 100 percent, but I would like to stress that this is not possible. I’m saying another notable sentence: we are still at the surface. If you had known what we know about FETÖ, you would know that even two or three hours of sleep would be excessive for us,” he said.
Some 1,325 associations have been closed over their suspected relations to outlawed groups since the 2016 coup, Soylu said, adding that efforts to determine associations related to terror have been continuing.
Soylu claimed that the closed associations had been engaging in terror propaganda.
Soylu said municipal vehicles in the eastern province of Van and the southeastern province of Mardin had been used in bomb attacks and clashes with security forces, that rocket launchers and mortar shells were found in searches conducted in municipality buildings, that a total of 200 Turkish Liras was cut from the salaries of municipal employees in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır to send to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and that heavy machinery belonging to the municipality was used to dig trenches for the PKK.
Commenting on the security operations against the PKK, Soylu stressed that “terror will be finished.”
“We made a promise to this nation. We will finish this terror,” he said, adding that “significant measures are being taken” regarding security.
“We will take important steps with our village guards. Their age average was 41; now, with the new move, we are decreasing it to 31 and 32. Thus, we are putting out security structures that will fight and win against the terrorist organization,” he added.