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.