18-05-2021 12:08:47

 “Operations Pence-Simsek and Pence-Yildirim continuing successfully”

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar speaks a virtual meeting with the Turkish Armed Forces.

At least 113 terrorists have been "neutralized" in Turkey’s recent cross-border anti-terror operations so far, the country’s national defense minister said on Monday.

Operations Pence-Simsek and Pence-Yildirim are continuing successfully regardless of difficult conditions on the ground, Hulusi Akar said.

As many as 107 caves and shelters have also been destroyed, he added, reaffirming Turkey's determination to continue the fight until the last terrorist is neutralized.

Turkish authorities use the word “neutralized” in statements to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

Turkey launched operations Pence-Simsek and Pence-Yildirim on April 23 in northern Iraq’s Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions.

The PKK terror group often uses bases in northern Iraq just across Turkey's southern border to hide and plot terror attacks in Turkey.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

Illegal border crossings

Meanwhile, the minister shared that 58,690 people were nabbed at border gates while attempting to illegally cross into the country.

"[As many as] 131,284 people were prevented from illegally crossing from our borders, while 122 terrorists, including 55 PKK/YPG/PYD and 43 FETO, were held," he said.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and 2,734 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.