By Orhan Onur Gemici
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey "neutralized" 184 terrorists during counter-terrorism operations across the country in September, the country’s deputy interior minister said on Friday.
Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralized" to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
Ismail Catakli, also Interior Ministry spokesman, said in a monthly briefing that some 184 terrorists, including nine wanted PKK terrorists, were neutralized in September.
A total of 11,395 counter-terror operations were carried out in rural areas and in cities, Catakli added.
Catakli said 92 terrorists were killed, 37 captured and 55 surrendered to security forces.
He added 143 of the neutralized terrorists were PKK/KCK members, 36 Daesh members and five far-left terror group members.
Also, 2,950 suspects were arrested over their suspected links to terrorist organizations and 620 of them were remanded in custody.
The security forces destroyed a total of 65 caves, shelters and hideouts used by the PKK terrorists during the operation.
Over 158 weapons including 91 heavy and long barreled guns were seized, he added.
- Internal security, drug operations
Reiterating that the number of PKK terrorists within the borders of Turkey has fallen below 600, Catakli said sit-in protests of mothers in Diyarbakir contributed to this process.
In August, Hacire Akar, a mother, staged a sit-in protest near the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) office. Her son returned home a few days later giving hope to a number of mothers who suffer the same circumstances.
Turkey's government accuses the HDP of having links to the PKK terrorist organization.
Referring to the ongoing Operation Kiran -- comprising four operations in southeastern and northeastern Turkey -- Catakli said a total of 63 terrorists were neutralized. Some 19 terrorist accomplices were arrested and 68 caves and shelters were destroyed.
On Aug. 18, Turkey launched Operation Kiran against PKK terrorists in southeastern Van, Hakkari and Sirnak provinces, followed by the launch of Operation Kiran-2 on Aug. 27 in Mardin, Sirnak and Batman provinces.
Operation Kiran-3 also launched in Sept. 21, targeting terrorists in Bestler-Dereler and Herekol regions of southeastern Sirnak and Siirt provinces.
On Sept. 24, Turkey launched Operation Kiran-4 in northeastern Kars, Agri and Igdir provinces.
Catakli added that a total of 608 terrorists were neutralized in 12,382 operations on Apr. 16-Sept.30. A total of 333 terrorists were killed, 119 captured and 156 surrendered to security forces.
He added that 532 caves and shelters were destroyed and over 778 weapons and ammunition were seized.
On Oct. 1, Turkey has also initiated its winter operations -- a total of 7,732 in 29 provinces and 292 shelters.
Stressing that 13,513 anti-drug operations were carried out in September, he said nearly 18,824 people were arrested and 1,919 were remanded in custody in the same month.
The anti-drug operation team seized nearly seven tons of marijuana, over 2.6 tons of skunk weed, 908 kg of heroin and 8 kg of cocaine.
Some 2,875 suspects were arrested over their links to drug trafficking and 16 of them were remanded in custody, he added.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar