National Defense Minister Fikri Işık has informed the Parliamentary Planning and Budget Committee on Thursday that an additional 30 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) jets have been ordered in the scope of counterterrorism operations, amid Turkey's determined efforts against all means of terrorism including the PKK, Daesh, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party (DHKP-C).Speaking during budget talks with the Parliamentary Planning and Budget Committee, Minister Işık reaffirmed the government's determination on counterterrorısm operations saying, "The bloody terror organization [referring to the PKK] has suffered more casualties recently than in the past 35 years. Turkey has become one of the leading countries in its fight against terrorism. We will continue our counterterrorism efforts until the end."
In that respect, Minister Işık advised the deputies during the committee's talks that Turkey is part of the international co-development program for the procurement of F-35 JSF jets in which a total of 30 have been ordered. "Six jets have been ordered and the first two will be received by 2018. An additional order for 24 F-35 jets has been agreed upon and eight jets will be received per year for the next three years," Işık added. Furthermore, as part of the ongoing operations against FETÖ members in the military Işık said that over 20,000 military personnel have been dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) so far. While stating that those dismissed include 3,665 army personnel and 16,423 military students, Işık said the probes into 2,885 personnel are continuing.
Touching upon the Mosul operation against Daesh, the Turkish defense minister stressed that, "The political environment which was poisoned by foreign interventions is continuing to be affected by sectarian policies, causing inexplicable suffering and various conflicts with our brotherly nation of Iraq. Iraqi polarization on the basis of ethnicity, religion and sects is the major obstacle ahead of the country's stability." Işık further underlined that the ongoing instability in Iraq - like that in Syria - is increasing the threat caused by terror groups like Daesh and the PKK, thus, leading Turkey to take necessary measures. However, he stressed that the measures Turkey has taken to establish its own national security has been taken in respect to Iraq's territorial integrity, unity and stability.
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