TURKEY

Turkey ‘neutralizes’ 635 PKK terrorists in 2019, interior minister says

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Turkey has "neutralized" 635 PKK terrorists in some 81,000 anti-terror operations since the start of 2019, the country's interior minister said on Thursday.

"We've been combating PKK terror for 40 years. We have neutralized 635 PKK terrorists in 80,570 operations since the start of this year," Süleyman Soylu told reporters in the capital Ankara.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

"There is a network giving money, strategy, and psychological support [to the PKK]. For this reason, we took a step on Monday, as you know," Soylu said, referring to the suspension of three mayors in eastern Turkey over alleged terrorist ties.

The mayors of the cities of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van already had active cases against them and face charges such as spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization or terror group membership, according to the Interior Ministry.

"Both moral support and food supplies are going from those municipalities to terrorists," said Soylu.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

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