Turkey ‘neutralized’ 1,162 terrorists in 2021: Defense Ministry
Turkish forces have neutralized 1,162 terrorists in operations within the country and outside its borders this year, the National Defense Ministry said on May 30.
The terrorists were neutralized in 181 large- and medium-scale operations, ministry spokeswoman Maj. Pınar Kara told a news briefing.
The figure includes 142 terrorists who were neutralized in Pence-Simsek and Pence-Yildirim operations in northern Iraq.
As many as 57 caves, 110 shelters, and 398 mines were also destroyed, she added.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in statements to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
The PKK terror group often uses bases in northern Iraq just across Turkey's southern border to hide and plot terror attacks in Turkey.
Turkey launched operations Pençe-Şimşek and Pençe-Yıldırım on April 23 in northern Iraq's Metina and Avaşin-Basyan regions.
In its more than 35-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 at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
Since Jan. 1, Turkish forces have arrested 62,296 people who tried to illegally cross the country’s borders, while some 530 kilograms (over 1,168 pounds) of drugs and 1,486 weapons were seized in anti-smuggling operations, Kara said.
Separately, Turkey has dismissed over 24,700 military personnel since the 2016 defeated coup as part of its fight against the FETÖ, while 2,493 others are still facing trial, the official said.
FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people dead and 2,734 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.
Turkey committed to peace, battle against terror
The Turkish Armed Forces will keep fighting terrorism with determination for the sake of the country and the nation, Kara asserted.
She said Turkish forces will continue to protect the rights and interests of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, and perform their role as guarantors of peace and security on the island of Cyprus in line with international guarantees and alliance agreements.
“Engaged in more than one operational area at the same time, the Turkish Armed Forces are involved in maintaining peace and stability with nearly 6,000 personnel in 16 different regions of the world,” she added.
Turkish forces also continue to assist in mine clearance operations in Azerbaijan and Libya, Kara added.