Turkey 'neutralizes' 68 terrorists in past week

By Muhammed Boztepe

ANKARA (AA) – The Turkish army "neutralized" 68 PKK terrorists in domestic and foreign counter-terror operations over the week.

Turkish Defense Ministry told Anadolu Agency on Friday that the army has 'neutralized' 68 PKK terrorists in operations held across Turkey and in northern Iraq from Nov. 9 to 15.

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

In these anti-terror operations, Turkish security forces seized several infantry rifles, anti-tank systems, ammo and mines.

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 and children.

177 FETO-linked suspects arrested across Turkey

By Safak Yel

IZMIR, Turkey (AA) – At least 177 suspects were arrested across Turkey by security forces on Friday for their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup.

In Turkey’s western Izmir province, 17 suspects were held for using ByLock, an encrypted smartphone messaging app used by FETO members in an operation carried out by anti-terror police teams.

At least 86 suspects were arrested separately in operations in the air force staff across 25 provinces focused in capital Ankara, according to a statement by the province’s chief prosecutor’s office.

In addition, security forces rounded up some 23 suspects in southern Mersin province, the provincial chief prosecutor’s office said.

Separately, 14 suspects were arrested by security forces in Istanbul for providing financial support to the terrorist organization.

Additionally, four suspects were held by security forces in central Eskisehir province on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”.

Also, security forces rounded up 28 suspects across four provinces in raids focused in southern Adana.

Three suspects were held additionally in western Kocaeli province in an ongoing investigation into FETO infiltration in the military.

Also, a former police officer was arrested in southern Osmaniye for being a member to a terrorist organization.

In addition, security forces held a suspect in northern Samsun province for using ByLock.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 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.

Nigeria: 2 top Boko Haram commanders killed

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigerian military on Sunday said two top Boko Haram commanders were killed in a military offensive in northeastern Borno state.

In a statement, the army said troops launched an offensive around Gumsuri and Gambori areas of the state, clearing and liberating some villages from the militants.

“Reports reaching Nigerian Army Headquarters confirmed that two high profile Boko Haram terrorist commanders named Abu Rajal and Tuja Sa’inna Banki were killed in the clearance operations,” the statement said.

“The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, commended the gallant troops and urged them to carry out further incursions and clearance operations to ensure that the remnants of the insurgents were completely wiped out,” it added.

Nigeria has been battling Boko Haram insurgency since 2009 when the group turned violent following the death of its former leader Mohamed Yusuf in police custody.

No fewer than 20,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians, while between 2-3 million have been displaced from their homes across the Lake Chad region.

Turkish surgeons restore sight to 420 Ethiopians

By Addis Getachew and Tufan Aktas

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) – A Turkish charity has given new hope to some residents of Gelemso town in eastern Ethiopia by bringing in ophthalmic surgeons who have helped hundreds of them see again.

“All 420 cataract patients have now regained full sight,” Haci Dursun Tunc, a member of the Sadakatasi Association’s board of directors, told Anadolu Agency.

“The association has conducted operations on patients in different parts of Africa and Asia, where a great number of people suffer from cataracts due to a lack of hygiene and other infections,” Tunc said.

He said the cataract operations have been conducted in cooperation with Gelemso Hospital, where many people, especially farmer families, needed the service.

The Turkish team of surgeons under the association have been providing cataract surgery services for free in Ethiopia, Pakistan and Somali, Tunc said.

“We operated on 700 cataract patients in Ethiopia before the latest ones.

“Words cannot express my happiness to see people blinded due to preventable causes see the world again,” he added.

The town of Gelemso is located in the Western Hararghe Zone of Oromia regional state. Ahmed Mohammed, head of the Western Hararghe Zone Health Bureau, who visited Gelemso Hospital, said he was very grateful and wanted to carry out joint projects in the near future with the association.

The Sadakatasi Association was established in 2010 and strives to help the needy in poor countries.

According to the World Health Organization, cataracts cause a third of worldwide blindness, affecting approximately 12.6 million people. Cataracts additionally cause moderate to severe vision loss in 52.6 million people, 99% of whom live in developing countries.

In 2016, Turkish Airlines sponsored a team of Turkish surgeons to provide cataract surgery services to more than 1,000 Ethiopians in a weeklong program conducted at the Menelik II Hospital in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Over 350 irregular migrants held in Turkey

By Ramazan Ercan and Muhammed Kaygin

CANKIRI/IZMIR, Turkey (AA) – At least 351 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said on Wednesday.

In central Cankiri province, 36 migrants were held by police forces during a regular road patrol. Migrants — all Afghan nationals — were transferred from eastern Van province.

Separately, the coast guards conducted multiple operations in the Aegean Izmir province’s Cesme and Dikili districts to prevent irregular migration.

The operations saw the arrest of 315 irregular migrants since Sep 23. Among them were Syrian, Afghan, Palestinian and Yemeni nationals.

All the migrants were referred to provincial migration offices.

Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011, when the Syrian civil war began.

Turkey: Over 20 kg of heroin seized

By Necat Hazar and Faruk Kara

ANKARA (AA) – More than 20 kilograms of heroin and 9,930 packs of smuggled cigarettes were seized during anti-narcotics and contraband operations across Turkey, a security source said Friday.

In an operation in the Gurpinar district of the eastern Van province, anti-narcotics teams seized a little over 20 kilograms of heroin in packs in a minivan, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media.

The driver and one other suspect were arrested over drug-related offenses.

Separately, security forces also seized a total of 9,930 packs of smuggled cigarettes during nationwide contraband operations.

In Van's Caldiran district, 7,820 packs of smuggled cigarettes were seized, the provincial gendarmerie command said.

Also in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Kiziltepe district, 1,010 packs of smuggled cigarettes were found, according to the provincial gendarmerie command.

In the central Sivas province’s Susehri district, security forces seized 1,100 packs of smuggled cigarettes in a bus.

Two female suspects were arrested for smuggling.

Turkish army neutralizes 43 terrorists over past week

By Kemal Karadag

ANKARA (AA) – A total of 43 terrorists including a so-called senior figure were neutralized as part of anti-terror operations on Turkish soil and in northern Iraq over the past week, the military said on Friday.

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

In a weekly statement, Turkish General Staff said the counter-terrorism raids were carried out in eastern Sirnak, Mardin, Erzurum and Bingol provinces as well as in northern Iraq regions from July 13-19.

Some 39 infantry rifles, 1 machine gun, an RPG rocket launcher, 6 guns and an AT-4 missile, 26.3 kilograms (58 pounds) of explosives and 3 improvised explosives were destroyed.

During the operations, one soldiers was martyred and two others were injured, the statement said.

The PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015.

Since then, it has been responsible for the deaths of more than 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians, including many women and children.

Separately, the military said since the launch of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s Afrin region, a total of 4,545 terrorists have been neutralized.

On Jan. 20 Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin. On March 18, Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army liberated the Afrin district center.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

The statement also said Turkish and the U.S. army had conducted 16 separate coordinated patrols in the area between the Operation Euphrates Shield region and Manbij since June 18, when the first patrols by Turkish and U.S. troops in the region began.

Over 75 arrested in anti-drug operations across Turkey

By Mesut Karaduman

ISTANBUL/GAZIANTEP/MUGLA/OSMANIYE/TEKIRDAG/NEVSEHIR, Turkey (AA) – More than 75 people were arrested during anti-drug operations across Turkey, security sources said Saturday.

In the southeastern province of Gaziantep, 23 suspects were rounded up during simultaneous operations at 50 addresses, said a source, who requested to be unnamed due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

In a separate operation, security personnel organized simultaneous operations at 41 houses and arrested 37 individuals.

Security forces detained five individuals in the northwestern province of Tekirdag over drug smuggling.

In the southwestern province of Mugla, three suspects were apprehended during an anti-drug operation. Another suspect was detained in the southern province of Osmaniye.

In the central Anatolian province of Nevsehir, seven suspects were arrested and two were remanded by the court.

Two suspects were also detained in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district during an anti-narcotics operation.

Over 125 kilograms of heroin seized in Turkey

By Hamdi Celikbas and Muzaffer Cagliyaner

ANKARA (AA) – Turkish security forces impounded over 126 kilograms (300 pounds) of heroin and 1,450 grams of hashish in multiple operations in the capital Ankara and southern Osmaniye province on Wednesday, according to police sources.

In Ankara, the anti-narcotics police force launched a helicopter-borne operation against the drug dealers after receiving a tip about distribution of drugs.

Police followed a suspect and carried out a helicopter-borne operation against the drug dealers.

A suspect was detained in the operation and a total of 1,450 grams of hashish, 600 grams of heroin and 30 grams of cocaine were seized in the operation, said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

In southern Osmaniye province, the provincial anti-narcotics police force stopped a truck on highway and seized 125.5 kilograms of heroin.

The police also arrested the truck driver.

UPDATE – Turkish government made clear policies: Minister Soylu

UPDATE WITH MORE REMARKS BY SOYLU

By Sarp Ozer and S. Ahmet Aytac

ANKARA (AA) – Turkish policies have been made clearer so that nobody points fingers at us from beyond the ocean, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Monday.

Soylu made the remarks while speaking at the Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk.

He also spoke about the municipalities in eastern Turkey, which were handed over to trustees via Interior Ministry in the past year.

“Their 650 million Turkish lira ($140 million) debt has been paid. Those municipalities have invested over 4 billion liras (near $1 billion) in the region.”

Soylu underlined that fight against illegal drugs continued. "As of June 3, 2018, we arrested 9,484 people from drug related crimes this year,” he said.

"We make our security forces stronger year by year. Since beginning of 2017 we hired 45,650 police officers. Until the end of this year we will hire 16,500 more. As of 2016 we had 3,500 neighborhood wardens in total. Now that figure rose up to 18,500. We plan to hire 10,000 more in near future."

Soylu also made remarks about the counterterror operations in northern Iraq's Qandil and Hakurk regions.

"Qandil is not faraway target for us anymore. Our forces have secured crucial areas along Qandil-Hakurk line. Operation against PKK terror group in Mt. Qandil is a matter of time. I assure our nation that Qandil will be a secure place for Turkey soon," he said.

Airstrikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the terror group has its main base in the Mt. Qandil region, near the Iranian border, have been carried out regularly since July 2015, when the PKK resumed its armed campaign.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as the U.S. and EU. In its terror campaign against Turkey, which has lasted for more than three decades, over 40,000 people have been killed, including women and children.

Soylu also spoke about the operations against Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt.

“There are over 34,000 arrested FETO suspects,” he said, adding over 114,000 employees were sacked from government departments and nearly 40,000 of them have returned to their jobs.