Turkish security forces have eliminated a total of 316 terrorists since the beginning of the year in 18 domestic and cross-border operations, the Defense Ministry said Thursday.
Turkey has conducted five large and 13 medium-scale counterterrorism operations since Jan. 1, ministry spokesperson Maj. Pınar Kara told reporters in the capital Ankara.
Kara added at the press conference that the country's security forces had eliminated a total of 33,584 terrorists in Turkey, Iraq and northern Syria since July 24, 2015.
In 2022, a total of 94 people were caught and 2,831 others were prevented from illegally crossing Turkey's border from Iran, she said, adding that 296 people were caught trying to illegally cross Turkish borders in January alone.
These 296 included 28 terrorists, of whom 12 were members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, Kara said.
Turkish security forces also seized 2,500 packs of cigarettes, 7 kilograms (15.4 pounds) of drugs and 76 various firearms during the same period, Kara added.
Commenting on planned terrorist attacks that Turkish forces successfully thwarted last month, Kara said 272 terrorists, including members of the terrorist groups Daesh and the PKK, had been eliminated.
In its more than 40-year terrorism 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 at least 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
In its fight against Daesh, Turkey became one of the first countries to declare it a terrorist group in 2013.
On developments in Azerbaijan, Kara said that in January, a total of 5,236 square meters (56,360 square feet) of land in the region had been cleared of mines to support the Azerbaijani army in areas liberated from Armenian occupation, adding that training in demining was ongoing.
During the 44-day conflict for the long-occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and over 300 settlements and villages that were occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.
Prior to that, about 20% of Azerbaijan's territory was under illegal occupation.
The fighting ended with a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10, 2020, which was seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia.
On Libya, Kara said Turkey had so far trained a total of 8,500 Libyan forces and that training was ongoing for 1,500 others. She added that 5,300 land mines had been destroyed in Libya so far.
On Nov. 27, 2019, Ankara and Tripoli signed two separate memoranda of understanding; one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.