Over 80,000 anti-terror operations launched in 8 months: Minister

Over 80,000 anti-terror operations launched in 8 months: Minister

Over 80,000 anti-terror operations launched in 8 months: Minister

Turkey has launched 80,570 counterterrorism operations against the outlawed PKK in the first eight months of 2019, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Aug. 22

As a result of these operations, some 635 PKK terrorists have been “neutralized,” according to figures provided by the minister.

Turkish authorities use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

“We’ve been combating PKK terror for 40 years. We have neutralized 635 PKK terrorists in 80,570 operations since the start of this year,” Soylu told reporters in the capital Ankara.

“We have 3 martyrs in [southeastern district of] Silopi. We know what we’re fighting for, we will not step back,” he added.

“There is a network giving money, strategy, and psychological support [to the PKK]. For this reason, we took a step on Aug. 19, as you know,” Soylu said.

The three mayors suspended on Aug. 19 in eastern and southeastern Turkey do not reject any affiliation to the illegal PKK group, but their argument is only based on “being elected,” Soylu said.

“They say nothing besides being elected… They don’t refute contacts with the terrorist organization,” he added.

“Both moral support and food supplies are going from those municipalities to terrorists,” said Soylu.

“Democracy is not a Trojan Horse. The elections are not a civil court. You cannot be justified by law just by entering the election,” he said.

Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı, Ahmet Türk, and Bedia Özgökçe Ertan — who were elected by overwhelming majorities in the March 31 local elections as mayors of the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır and Mardin and the eastern province of Van, respectively — have been suspended over alleged terror links.

Quoting anonymous officials from the ministry, state-run Anadolu Agency said that all three ousted mayors had allegedly continued “supporting the aims, ideological rhetoric and actions of the PKK.”

Anadolu claimed that the three mayors “aimed to make the municipalities a contact center for the PKK.”

Anadolu also claimed that the mayors allegedly tried to “provide jobs and financial support to the relatives of PKK terrorists who had been neutralized in counter-terrorism operations and put pressure on the relatives of soldiers martyred in counter-terror operations.”