'Turkey neutralized 3,646 terrorists in 2020'

Terrorists neutralized in over 200 operations carried out in Turkey and across its border, says defense minister

'Turkey neutralized 3,646 terrorists in 2020'

Some 3,646 terrorists were neutralized in more than 200 operations carried out in Turkey and across the border, the country's defense minister announced on Tuesday.

Among the terrorists who have been neutralized, there are "ringleaders" from the so-called leadership of the terrorist organization, Hulusi Akar said in a virtual year-end evaluation meeting.

Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler, other military commanders, and senior authorities were in attendance at the meeting.

Noting that the terrorist organization poses a threat to 83 million citizens and the borders of the country, Akar said that Turkey is determined to clean up the PKK terrorist organization starting from the northern Iraq.

"By continuing our efforts with the same determination, we will save our nation from this terror scourge," he said.

Akar also underlined that a total of 30,416 terrorists have been neutralized so far since the "new strategy" was launched in the fight against terrorists on July 24, 2015.

He added that positions and shelters of terrorists were also destroyed in the operations in question.

"Terrorists have been dealt a serious blow, they continue to be hit. We are committed to this. Our fight against terrorism will continue with an increasing tempo and a spirit of constant offensive," he said.

"We see that the so-called leadership of the terrorist organization is in great panic, they do not sleep in the same place for two nights, fear has engulfed the mountains, and they feel the breath of the Turkish Armed Forces on their backs. This struggle will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized."

The minister also noted that 82,229 people were caught trying to make an illegal border crossing during the year.

Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and to enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).

In its more than 30-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 40,000 people including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.