UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS BY INTERIOR MINISTER
By Can Erozden
ANKARA (AA) – There are now fewer than 700 terrorists in Turkey as the country is taking significant counter-terror measures on its borders to block terrorist entries, interior minister said on Wednesday.
Hosted at the Anadolu Agency’s Editor’s Desk, Suleyman Soylu said: “There are fewer than 700 terrorists in Turkey. The [terrorist] entry into the country is so little, as well. 12 people entered [Turkey] since January. We are taking serious measures at our borders.”
Turkey installed a smart system to control its southern border as part of its counter-terror efforts.
"We set up one of the most modern systems in the world with sensors, cameras, and walls, and we are continuing to install," Soylu said.
The surveillance devices can be monitored from anywhere, he added.
On Turkey’s fight against the terrorist organization PKK, Soylu said that Turkey plans to conduct a joint anti-terror operation with Iran against the group as Turkey has been willing for a mutual operation for a long time.
"I thank Iran as it didn't make any trouble for a wall we are building although it has a firm position in these topics. We did it by reconciliation. This is not a border wall but a security wall, actually," he said.
Turkey has been building a 144-kilometer-long (89.4 miles) wall along its eastern border with Iran as Soylu viewed this wall and security systems on field in Oct. 2018. In May 2017, Tehran welcomed Turkey’s planned border security wall for safety. In Jan. 2018, Turkey completed more than half of it.
Separately, Soylu slammed the PKK for recruiting teenagers in its combat against Turkey.
Soylu said that PKK also recruits teens for sexual abuse and the minors suffer from deviant behaviors.
The so-called ringleaders of the PKK are known for their "perverted" behaviors, surrendered PKK terrorists confessed to Turkish security sources.
"53 PKK terrorists surrendered since January. In 2018, 383 terrorists surrendered," Soylu said.
"Between 1984 and 2007, some 52,025 people joined this terror group. This figure went down to 236 in 2018," Soylu remarked.
Turkey completed 80 percent of its winter operations against terrorists and is now setting new goals for spring, summer and fall operations.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU. In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, it has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.
– Saudi trolls target Soylu
Turkey also carries out joint works with the European and Arab countries to chase terror-linked individuals for safety of tourists, Soylu added. His remarks came after Saudi trolls targeted him by his remarks against terrorism.
The trolls shared a video “Interior Minister Soylu threatens everyone who criticizes Turkey and the tourists” subtitled in Arabic.
Sharing anti-Soylu posts on their social media accounts, they tried to scheme against the Turkish minister by tilting the speech against Arabs, when it actually targets Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and PKK terrorists.
The trolls falsely attributed quotes to Soylu such as: "Don’t think that this issue will end like this. Those who oppose Turkey abroad and then plan holidays in the Mediterranean cities and Antalya will be arrested. Files have been prepared against them by police at the airports."
The actual speech was about Turkey’s fight against terrorism and explained the problems big states face.
"We, as four, Foreign Ministry, Justice Ministry, Interior Ministry, Intelligence Service, are conducting wide-scale operations abroad as well. Not only FETO, but we are also carrying out large operations against PKK,” Soylu said in his speech.
“Let PKK members come to Turkey from abroad, we are arresting them at the airports now. It isn’t like Turkey is not aware of anything. You will talk there, then will come here for a holiday in Antalya… It is not the case anymore.
– FETO bags $800M from charter schools
On the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), Soylu said that it earns $800M alone from charter schools financed by U.S., and the group is able to get $200M in donation.
He stated that Turkey is pursuing the FETO presence in the U.S. as the terror group has charter schools in the military bases in Arizona and Nevada.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of 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.