Some 144 PKK terrorists surrendered to Turkish security forces in the past year, the Interior Ministry said Monday.
The ministry noted that one more PKK terrorist surrendered as a result of persuasion efforts in coordination with the police and gendarmerie.
The terrorist had joined the PKK in 2008 and was actively fighting for the group in northern Iraq, the ministry said.
The ministry did not identify whether the terrorist is related to one of the parents who have been holding a demonstration in front of the pro-PKK Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters in southeastern Diyarbakır province.
Last year, 243 PKK terrorists surrendered to Turkish security forces, according to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.
Turkey’s counterterrorism efforts continue decisively through the coordination of the Turkish Armed Forces, the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Gendarmerie General Command, the police force and local units.
Over the last four years, the number of PKK terrorists in Turkey has plunged by 83%.
The PKK's leadership is struggling to recruit both militants and higher ranks, according to reports. Additionally, many terrorists are reluctant to enter Turkey from Iraq to carry out attacks due to the high number of casualties.
The PKK terrorist group once had over 5,500 members, said Soylu, but as of 2020, only 53 people joined, down from 132 in 2019. A mere two people joined the terrorist group in 2021, he added.
Turkish security forces regularly conduct counterterrorism operations in Turkey's eastern and southeastern provinces where the PKK has attempted to establish a strong presence and bases. The forces also conduct cross-border operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from which they carry out attacks on Turkey. Turkey launched Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle in June 2020 to ensure the safety of Turks and the country's national borders by eliminating terrorist threats.
In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Meanwhile, security forces killed a senior PKK operative in northern Iraq, the Defense Ministry announced Monday. The terrorist was the so-called "external affairs director" of the group, Mehmet Emin Ekinci.