Turkish President condoles death of his soldiers as operations against PKK continue
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday extended his condolences to the families of three soldiers, who were killed by PKK terrorists in southeastern Turkey over the past week, while operations against the terrorist group continue.
Taking to Twitter, Erdoğan expressed sorrow for Atakan Arslan, a police officer killed in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır in an armed attack, as well as soldiers Uğur Bora and Mehmet Günay, who were killed in clashes in the southeastern province of Hakkari.
“Our fight against terrorism will continue uninterruptedly and resolutely until the terror threat to our country ends and the last terrorist is neutralized,” he said.
Besides Erdoğan, other top officials in the country have also conveyed their condolences to the families of the soldiers.
Police officer Arslan was killed as a result of an armed attack. Stopping a car for routine controls, Arslan was shot by one of the car’s passengers and succumbed to his wounds in the hospital.
On Sunday, a suspect accused of killing Arslan was detained by security forces in Diyarbakır.
In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and European Union, has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Turkish security forces regularly conduct counterterrorism operations in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey where the PKK has attempted to establish a strong presence.
Turkish security forces have adopted “ending terrorism at its root” and “attack rather than defense” strategies through its operations across the country.
Some 122,054 operations, including 116,650 in rural areas, targeted PKK terrorists in 2019 alone and have successfully detained and killed top PKK figures.
According to Interior Ministry data, there were 835 to 1,995 PKK terrorists in January 2017, while the number dropped to between 1,100 and 1,200 by January 2018, 755 to 876 in January 2019 and under 500 in January 2020, equating to an 83% drop over four years and the lowest figures in three decades.
More importantly, while around 5,558 terrorists joined the PKK in 2014, this number fell to 130 in 2019 and to 13 in the first five months of 2020, a whopping 70% drop year-on-year.
There has also been a surge in the number of terrorists laying down arms and surrendering to Turkish security forces following these series of successful domestic and cross-border anti-terror operations.