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'Less than 700 terrorists in Turkey' - interior minister

  • 6 Mar 2019

Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu also said only 12 terrorists had entered the country since January. Soylu was speaking after Saudi trolls targeted him over earlier remarks on terrorism.

Turkish security forces arrested 641 FETO suspects out of a total of 1,112 sought in counter-terrorism operations on February 12, 2019. ( AA Archive )

There are now less than 700 terrorists in Turkey as the country is taking significant counter-terror measures on its borders to block terrorist entries, the interior minister said on Wednesday.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Anadolu Agency’s Editor’s Desk, Suleyman Soylu said: “There are less 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.”

On Turkey’s fight against the PKK, Soylu said that Turkey plans to conduct a joint anti-terror operation with Iran against the group.

Separately, Soylu slammed the PKK for recruiting teenagers in its terror attacks against Turkey.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU. Some 40,000 people, including women and children, have been killed in its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey.

Saudi trolls target Soylu

Soylu's remarks came after Saudi trolls targeted him for his remarks against terrorism.

The trolls shared a video with Arabic subtitles 'Interior Minister Soylu threatens everyone who criticises Turkey and the tourists.'

The trolls shared anti-Soylu posts on their social media accounts, misquoting Soylu on the issues of FETO and the PKK terrorist organisations.

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," Soylu said.

“Let PKK members come to Turkey from abroad, we are arresting them at the airports now."

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