Over 17,000 FETÖ suspects purged from military: Minister Akar
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
More than 17,000 FETÖ suspects have been purged from Turkey's military since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, the country's national defense minister announced.
Underlining that the Turkish Armed Forces continued to strengthen as "traitors" among its ranks were removed, Hulusi Akar said that the expulsions- 17,498 so far- would continue until "not a single traitor" wore a Turkish military uniform.
"Since the beginning of the year, 676 terrorists have been neutralized, 64 in [Operation] Claw-1,16 in Claw-2 and 22 in Claw-3," Akar said, referring to ongoing Turkish anti-terror operations in Northern Iraq.
"Hopefully our 82 million citizens will be rid of this scourge of terrorism. Terrorists have no choice but to surrender and give up," he said.
PKK terrorists often use northern Iraq as a base to plan cross-border terrorist attacks on Turkey.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey 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.