By Davut Demircan and Fahri Aksut
ANKARA (AA) - Forty-eight terrorists surrendered this year after being persuaded by Turkish security forces, the country's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Thursday.
Speaking at Anadolu Agency's Editor's Desk in the capital Ankara, he said the YPG/PKK terrorist group rests on the shoulders of women, with their participation in terror acts at 56%.
“They have more women than men, they did this for getting support of the West,” he said.
Stressing that EU reports have found the terror group recruiting child soldiers, he said the UN made its darkest deal to date with Ferhat Abdi Sahin, also known as Mazloum Kobani.
"All of our institutions are engaged in the fight against terror, but it will end only with the courage of mothers," he added.
A sit-in by mothers, whose children have been kidnapped by the YPG/PKK, in southeastern Turkey started last September. Their persistence has persuaded 11 young recruits to return home.
Soylu said Turkey was leading a three-pronged fight against terrorism, against Daesh/ISIS, FETO and YPG/PKK.
"I have to say this. Turkey has changed its focus on terrorism after illegal protests in Diyarbakir province in 2015.
"We are nipping terrorism at its source. We are not just fighting terrorists, but the culture they promote," he added.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
The interior minister went on to say that Turkey has deported over 7,900 foreign terrorists of 102 different nationalities.
“We are the country that eliminated 3,500 Daesh/ISIS terrorists for the first time with Operation Euphrates Shield,” Soylu added.
Turkey also banned the entry of over 90,000 foreigners affiliated with terrorist organizations.
Turkey launched anti-terror operations at home and abroad (Operation Euphrates Shield, Operation Olive Branch and Operation Peace Spring) to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria.
-$75M went to quake victims in east
Turkey has provided 460 million Turkish lira ($75 million) in aid to victims of recent earthquakes in eastern Turkey, said Soylu.
Soylu added that the government is working hard for the people of Elazig and Malatya in the wake of a quake this January.
Some 150,000 earthquake victims in the provinces have been given aid, he said.
No country in the world could have done the damage assessments in Elazig and Malatya as quickly as Turkey, he said.
He said Turkey started to pay compensation to earthquake victims for collapsed buildings as well as those heavily damaged and which need to be demolished.
Daily life in Elazig and Malatya will return to normal by the end of April, he added.
Soylu said the eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey will progress and become the hub for textile production in the next 10 to 15 years.
On a possible earthquake in Istanbul, a metropolis of over 15 million people, he said authorities are planning ahead for the threat of a big quake in the city.
In 1999, Turkey's Marmara region was jolted by two massive quakes that claimed lives of tens of thousands.
On Jan. 24, Elazig and Malatya were hit with a 6.8 magnitude earthquake which led to the deaths of 41 people and injured 1,600 others. The tremors were also felt in neighboring countries, including Georgia and Syria.