Turkish security forces 'neutralize' over 1,100 terrorists so far this year
40 terrorists 'neutralized' last week, including those hiding out across border in Iraq, northern Syria, says National Defense Ministry official
By Diyar Guldogan
ANKARA (AA) – Türkiye has "neutralized" more than 1,100 YPG/PKK terrorists since the beginning of this year, including those hiding out across the border in Iraq and northern Syria, the National Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
"40 terrorists have been neutralized last week," a National Defense Ministry official told reporters at a briefing in the capital Ankara.
The total number of terrorists "neutralized" so far this year reached 1,102, he added.
Turkish authorities use the term "neutralize" to imply that the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
In Syria, the official said, all necessary measures are being taken to maintain security and stability in the areas of Türkiye's cross-border anti-terror operations, and terrorist attacks are responded to in kind.
Since January, 93 harassment incidents and attacks have been carried out by the YPG/PKK terrorist group in areas of Türkiye's counterterrorism operations, and 809 terrorists have been "neutralized" with the immediate response of Turkish soldiers, he added.
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 more than 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the terrorist PKK's Syrian branch.
On illegal crossings into Türkiye, the official said thanks to additional effective measures, 5,282 people, including 380 terrorists, who tried to illegally cross Türkiye's borders, have been caught since Jan. 1. Around 141,400 people were prevented before they crossed 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.
- Construction of Pile-Yigitler road in Northern Cyprus
The Turkish Armed Forces continues to protect the rights and interests of Türkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in the Aegean and Mediterranean, the official said.
Ankara is in favor of solving all problems through peaceful methods, in accordance with international law, good neighborly relations and the spirit of alliance, through mutual respect and dialogue, he added.
Turning to the last week's intervention of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in the construction of the Pile-Yigitler road in the territory of the TRNC, the official strongly condemned the "unacceptable intervention and unilateral attitude" by the peacekeeping force.
He added that it contradicts the impartiality of the peacekeeping force and fuels the deadlock.
"We emphasize once again that, as the guarantor state, we stand by our Cypriot brothers and sisters within the framework of international agreements and legitimate rights stemming from international law," he stressed.
The construction of the Pile-Yigitler road is a humanitarian project aiming to facilitate the direct access of TRNC citizens in the village of Pile to their own homeland.
The Greek Cypriot administration and the UN are opposed to the project.
Residents of Pile will be able to travel shorter distances and will not have to pass through British bases when crossing to the Turkish side when the 11.6-kilometer (7.2-mile) construction and repair work ends.
The first 7.5 km of the road will pass through Yigitler, and the second 4.1 km will pass through Pile.
- Black Sea grain deal
Ankara's contacts with officials from the UN, Russia, and Ukraine regarding continuation of last year’s landmark Black Sea grain deal continue in coordination with the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the official said.
"Moreover, we express that we have been in favor of the riparian countries living in peace, dialogue, and prosperity in the Black Sea, which is known as the sea of peace," he said, adding the status quo established by the Montreux Convention, which Türkiye has implemented in an "impartial, fair and restrained" manner, should be preserved.
Last month, Russia suspended its participation in the Black Sea grain deal, which it signed last summer along with Türkiye, the UN, and Ukraine to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February 2022. Moscow has repeatedly complained that the Russian part of the agreement was not implemented.
Ankara has been carrying out intense efforts and pushing diplomacy for the resumption of the deal.
Türkiye, internationally praised for its unique mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly called on Kyiv and Moscow to end the war, which has now surpassed 500 days, through negotiations.
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