Turkish Armed Forces have neutralized 18,313 terrorists since July 24, 2015, including 1,631 in Iraq and Syria since Jan. 1 this year, said the defense minister said on Saturday.
“Turkish Armed Forces’ story of heroism and sacrifice is not over, it continues. Mehmetcik (Turkish soldiers) continues to make history,” Hulusi Akar said at an oath-taking ceremony for Maroon Berets who have successfully completed their 47-week-long special training in Ankara.
Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler and the second chief of the Turkish General Staff, Lieut. Gen. Selcuk Bayraktaroglu, were also present at the ceremony.
Akar emphasized that the fight against terrorism, which began on July 24, 2015, has continued through the Claw operations.
The Claw operations are a series of military operations that Turkey launched in 2019 against terrorist organizations in northern Iraq, particularly the PKK.
The PKK terror group often hides out in northern Iraq, just across Turkey’s southern border, to plot terror attacks.
Underlining that Turkey respects all of its neighbor’s borders, sovereign rights, and laws, including those of Iraq, Akar added that the country will continue to stand by their Libyan and Azerbaijani brothers in their just cause.
Touching upon the recent developments in Afghanistan, Akar said, “We have done our best, within our means, so that our Afghan brothers and sisters can live in safety and prosperity.”
Reiterating that the country has been working for 20 years to bring peace to Afghanistan, Akar added that Turkey has been operating the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul for the last six years and wants to continue managing the airport to support Afghan brethren.
Fires in Turkey
Regarding the wildfires in Turkey, Akar said that the Turkish Armed Forces have provided resources and personnel to help put out wildfires that erupted in several parts of the country.
Four drones, five landing ships, one patrol boat, four helicopters, more than 50 firefighter trucks, sprinklers, and over 600 personnel were provided by the Turkish Armed Forces, he added.
When needed, the country’s armed forces have mobilized all of their resources and capabilities, according to Akar, and the government has used their services in collaboration with relevant institutions and organizations.