Terror attacks increased in Turkey in 2015: US Report

Terror attacks increased in Turkey in 2015: US Report

Terror attacks increased in Turkey in 2015: US Report

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Turkey has ranked among countries which saw an increase in terror attacks in 2015, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism.

U.S. Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism Justin Siberell said on June 2 that the total number of terrorist attacks in 2015 decreased by 13 percent compared to the previous year, while some countries, including Turkey, experienced increased terror attacks throughout the past year.

“According to the statistical annex prepared by the University of Maryland and appended to the report, the total number of terrorist attacks in 2015 decreased by 13 percent when compared to 2014. Total fatalities due to terrorist attacks decreased by 14 percent, principally as a result of fewer attacks and deaths in Iraq, Pakistan and Nigeria. This represents the first decline in total terrorist attacks and resulting fatalities worldwide since 2012. At the same time, there were several countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria and Turkey, where terrorist attacks and total deaths increased in 2015,” Siberell told reporters at a press briefing on the report.

The 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism outlined attacks in Turkey staged by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2015.

It stated that Turkey took strong action in responding to internal terror threats by implementing a “banned from entry list for suspected foreign fighters” and setting up additional “risk analysis units” to detect foreign fighters. 

In this perspective, Turkey, which is a source and transit country for foreign terrorist fighters, deported 2,337 suspected foreign terrorist fighters from 85 countries and improved its sharing of counterterrorism information with the U.S., according to the report.

The report also reviewed Turkish security forces’ operations against PKK militants in the country’s southeast.
“From January to mid-July 2015, the PKK carried out small-scale armed attacks against Turkey’s security forces and military bases, which killed at least two security personnel. From mid-July to the end of 2015, more than 180 security personnel died from PKK-attributed attacks. On July 24, Turkish security forces launched large-scale operations against the PKK, as well as operations against ISIL-affiliated targets. Turkish military airstrikes against PKK camps, shelters, underground bunkers and weapon emplacements in Turkey’s southeast and northern Iraq continued through year’s end,” the report said.

It added that activities by the outlawed DHKP/C and TAK threatened the security of both U.S. and Turkish interests.

However, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, People’s Defense Units (YPG), were not enlisted as foreign terror organizations designated by the U.S. in the report, contrary to the PKK.

Meanwhile, Siberell noted terror attacks took place in 92 countries in 2015, with more than 55 percent taking place in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nigeria.

Siberell also added that ISIL remained the greatest threat globally, while noting that 40 percent of ISIL-controlled territory in Iraq had been liberated.