By Sertac Bulur
ANKARA (AA) - More than 2,100 suspects have been held during counter-terrorism operations across Turkey between Feb. 12 and Feb. 19, according to the Interior Ministry on Monday.
Sixteen PKK terrorists were also "neutralized" in the country within the same period, the ministry said in a statement.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
The ministry said four of the neutralized terrorists had been killed, nine others were captured while three surrendered.
In total, security forces had carried out 1,103 counterterrorism operations in the past week.
A total of 713 people were arrested for aiding and abetting the PKK terrorist organization; 43 others were held for their suspected links to Daesh terrorist organization; another 567 people were arrested for suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the statement said.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen is responsible for the July 2016 defeated coup, which martyred 250 people and injured some 2,200, as well as a longstanding plot to infiltrate and undermine the government.
In addition, 661 kilograms (1,457 pounds) of explosive ordnance, 16 hand grenades, 38 heavy weapons as well as 14,708 pieces of variety ammunition were seized in nationwide anti-terror operations, said the ministry.
In operations across the southeastern provinces of Bitlis, Mardin, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Adiyaman, eastern province of Tunceli and northern province of Tokat, 30 terrorist hideouts were also destroyed.
The ministry also said 786 suspects had been arrested so far for spreading terror propaganda on social media and protesting against Turkey's ongoing operation in Afrin region in northwestern Syria.
After examining 1,296 social media accounts, the Turkish police’s cybercrime division launched legal proceedings against 392 suspects.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military has also said only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost importance" is being put on avoiding harm to civilians. Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.