Turkey has dealt huge blow to terrorists this year: Minister
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Turkey has prevented 152 terrorist attacks by ISIL so far this year, the country’s interior minister announced on Sept. 23.
In an exclusive interview on a Turkish TV program, Süleyman Soylu said 26.8 tons of explosive material belonging to the terror group were seized in anti-terror operations.
In 2013, Turkey became one of the first countries to declare ISIL a terrorist group.
The country has since been attacked by ISIL terrorists multiple times with at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks and four armed attacks killing 315 people and injuring hundreds more.
In response, Turkey launched anti-terror operations at home and abroad to prevent further attacks.
On the fight against the YPG/PKK terror group, Soylu said 162 YPG/PKK terrorists have laid down their arms so far this year due to persuasion efforts by police and gendarmerie forces.
The number of terrorists who surrendered through persuasion efforts in the last three years exceeded 700, he said.
On the long-running sit-in in Turkey by families whose children have been kidnapped by YPG/PKK terrorists, Soylu said these mothers are not only trying to save their children but are also struggling against terrorism and destabilization of the region by the terror groups.
The protest began on Sept. 3 last year in southeastern Diyarbakır province, when Fevziye Çetinkaya, Remziye Akkoyun and Ayşegül Biçer said their children had been forcibly recruited by YPG/PKK terrorists.
The sit-in outside the office of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) - which the government accuses of having links to the YPG/PKK terror group - has been growing every day.
The grieving demonstrators have vowed to continue the sit-in until every family is reunited with their children.
Offenders in Turkey linked to terrorist groups who surrender are eligible for possible sentence reductions under a repentance law.
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 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.
Soylu added that the country resolutely continues to fight against the hidden members of the FETÖ, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt.
He said while operations against the terror group continue across the country, public officials who have suspected links to the terror group have been suspended or sacked.
FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey 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.