Turkish security forces 'neutralized' 36 terrorists last week

Turkish security forces
# 04 January 2024 21:12 (UTC +04:00)

Türkiye has "neutralized" as many as 36 terrorists last week, including those hiding out across the border in Iraq and northern Syria, APA reports citing the National Defense Ministry.

A total of 2,237 terrorists have been targeted since Jan. 1, 2023, a ministry official told reporters in the capital Ankara.

Turkish authorities use the term "neutralize" to imply that the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

PKK/YPG terrorists often hide out across Türkiye's border in northern Iraq and Syria, where they plot attacks on Turkish forces or the local populations.

Since Jan. 1, 2023, the terrorist group carried out 526 attacks in areas falling under Türkiye's counter-terrorism operations, and 1,529 terrorists have been "neutralized," said the official.

On illegal crossings into Türkiye, the official said thanks to effective security measures, 13,758 people trying to illegally cross Türkiye's borders have been caught since Jan. 1, 2023.

A total of 209,402 people were prevented from crossing the border.

Türkiye has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

The country, which already hosts 4 million refugees, more than any other country in the world, is taking new measures at its borders to prevent a fresh influx of migrants.

Türkiye maintains neutral position on Russia-Ukraine war

Turkish security sources denied reports that Türkiye allowed the passage of minesweeping vessels sent by the UK to Ukraine through the Istanbul Strait.

"The allegation that Türkiye acted contrary to the Montreux Convention by permitting the passage of minesweepers sent by the UK to Ukraine through the strait does not reflect the truth," the sources said.

Türkiye has been the first country to classify the situation as a war and take effective measures since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, the sources said.

"In accordance with the Montreux Straits Convention that it has meticulously adhered to since 1936, Türkiye has suspended the passage of belligerent parties through the straits."

"Within this scope, passage has not been granted to warships bearing the flags of belligerent parties from the beginning of the conflict."

"At the same time, Türkiye has maintained its neutral position since the beginning of the war. We categorically reject claims that would undermine our neutral position."

Emphasizing the commitment to the peaceful coexistence, dialogue, tranquility, and prosperity of coastal countries in the Black Sea, the sources said: "We believe that the existing security balance should be maintained within the framework of the ‘regional ownership principle,’ and the status quo established by the Montreux Agreement, which we have applied neutrally, fairly, and restrainedly so far."