More than 2,400 militants 'neutralized' over last year

More than 2,400 militants 'neutralized' over last year

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
More than 2,400 militants neutralized over last year

The Turkish military has "neutralized" over 2,400 militants since the beginning of 2018, the Defense Ministry said on Jan. 19.

The 2,442 militants neutralized include 74 senior members, said the ministry.

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 also said that since the defeated 2016 coup bid by the FETÖ terror group, it has dismissed over 15,000 personnel for FETÖ ties.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and its U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

The ministry also said that efforts to uphold the agreement reached last September on Idlib, Syria are ongoing, despite provocations in the region.

"All efforts are being made to maintain the cease-fire, stability under the Sochi agreement. Our close cooperation with Russia continues along these lines," said Defense Minister Hulusi Akar last week.

Following a meeting last September in the Russian city of Sochi between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the two sides agreed to set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib.

Ankara and Moscow also signed a memorandum of understanding calling for the “stabilization” of Idlib's de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas in which they are already present, while Russia and Turkey will do joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing renewed fighting.