Hundreds of terror plots thwarted in 2016 as Interior Ministry vows to eliminate terror

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu spoke during a parliamentary session where he briefed deputies on matters of “domestic security,” stating that a total of 339 major terror plots were prevented as a result of the seizure of 247 explosives and 61 bomb vehicles in 2016. As Turkey leaves behind a year marred by more than a dozen major terrorist attacks – most of which were carried out by the PKK terrorist organization and its affiliate groups as well as Daesh, the government launched a major offensive throughout 2016 based on its counterterrorism strategy, according to Minister Soylu’s remarks in Parliament Tuesday.

While Turkey’s zero tolerance policy on terrorism was particularly felt in operations launched against the PKK amid its aims to bring chaos to the southeastern provinces of Turkey via urban warfare, Minister Soylu said that “247 explosives and 61 bomb-laden vehicles were seized and 23 suicide bomber suspects were detained along with 42 members of terrorist groups who were plotting attacks in the country. In the last three months alone, 80 significant plots were thwarted.” Informing parliamentary deputies by stating that 5,826 counter-terrorism operations were conducted in the last three months alone, Soylu said: “Turkey is not only at the point of combating terrorism but it is at a point of eliminating terror.” In regards to the prevented 339 major terror plots, Soylu stated, “313 of those [incidents] were planned by the PKK, 22 by Daesh and four by radical leftist groups.”

As part of the extensive counter-terrorism operations, Soylu drew attention to the decreasing number of individuals joining the terrorist PKK organization, which he said has decreased in manpower from 3,572 in 2015 to 559 in 2016. Soylu added: “I would also like to provide the numbers compiled over the last two months [referring to months of November and December 2016]. According to our major surveillance findings, only five persons have joined the terror group in the last two months,” Soylu added. In regards to anti-Daesh operations in 2016, the interior minister said that 1,338 suspects – including 694 foreigners – were arrested in Turkey for having links to the terrorist Daesh group. Soylu further noted that 52,072 people from 145 countries were barred from entering the country, saying that 4,019 people from 98 countries were deported from Turkey.Continuing with his remarks by affirming Turkey’s determination in its counter-terrorism fight until all terror groups are ultimately defeated, Soylu called upon the international community to display a similar determination to defeat terrorism and said that NATO, the U.N. and other international organizations must take definitive action. In the meantime, he also touched upon Turkey’s counter-terror operations on social media in past six months, asserting that 1,729 individuals were detained “for [spreading] propaganda on behalf of terrorist organizations.” Furthermore, a total of 1,108 associations in Turkey were shut down in 2016 for suspected links to terrorist groups such as the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the PKK, the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party Front (DHKP-C) and Daesh.

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