Hulusi Akar’s remarks come during visit to military base on Turkish-Iraqi border
Türkiye has neutralized nearly 2,000 terrorists in cross-border anti-terror operations so far this year, said the country’s defense chief on Saturday.
Visiting a military base in Daglica, along the Turkish-Iraqi border, Hulusi Akar held a video conference with commanders of Turkish troops actively involved in anti-terror operations within Türkiye and in northern Iraq and northern Syria.
Praising the professionalism and heroism of the troops, he stressed that the country’s war on terror will continue until its borders are completely secured.
Akar drew attention to a rising trend in terrorist attacks and particularly pointed to Manbij and Tal Rifat in northern Syria as major sources of YPG/PKK terrorism.
Both northern Iraq and northern Syria are used as bases by the terrorist group YPG/PKK to plan and launch attacks on Turkish civilians and troops as well as local Iraqis and Syrians. Türkiye uses its rights under international law to launch cross-border operations to eliminate the terrorist threat.
No one should doubt that we will do whatever is necessary to eliminate terrorist threats stemming from these areas, added Akar.
While Turkish forces remain resolute and capable of neutralizing any threats to the nation, we expect our allies to show solidarity in this, Akar reiterated.
Turkish forces have neutralized over 35,000 terrorists since July 2015, including 1,999 so far this year, among them 277 during the ongoing Operation Claw-Lock in northern Iraq, he explained.
Turkish authorities use the term “neutralize” to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
Türkiye launched Operation Claw-Lock in April to target the PKK terror organization’s hideouts in Iraq’s northern Metina, Zap, and Avasin-Basyan regions near the Turkish border.
It was preceded by Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle launched in 2020 to root out terrorists hiding in northern Iraq and plotting cross-border attacks in Türkiye.
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.
On Türkiye’s role facilitating the exports of Ukraine’s grain via the Black Sea, he said negotiations are now taking place in a positive environment.
“We anticipate some positive tangible steps soon,” he added.