Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Saturday that the government is in a new phase in its fight against terror where all levels of the state are acting united to clear out terrorist groups which pose a threat to Turkey's national security both domestically and to its borders.
"I am not using the term 'fight against terror.' We are in a determined unified stance, from the top figure in the state to the soldiers that are on duty in minus 30 degrees Celsius weather on our borders to clear off terror," Interior Minister Soylu said, speaking to reporters in southeastern Diyarbakır province.
Ankara has recently employed a new, intensified anti-terror strategy, both in its fight against terror groups inside Turkey, as well as in its cross-border operations, where terrorists are being combatted before they are able to carry out attacks in Turkey.
Reiterating the government's new anti-terror strategy, Soylu added that terror groups, posing a threat to Turkey, would be confronted wherever they are; however, this will not mean it is a step against another country's sovereignty. "We are not in a position to stand idle against those targeting our land and our peace," Soylu said amid the recent military deployment on Turkey's southern border.
Visiting Diyarbakır's Sur district where there have been intensified clashes between PKK terrorists and security forces, the interior minister said that people's unity and love for each other is also an important part of clearing out the terror threat.
Soylu added that anti-terror measures taken by Turkey are also important measures for the region beyond the country's borders.
"Turkey is not a just a source of hope for the people in its region. It is a country that has given hope to many victims in many different parts of the world reaching out for a helping hand from our civilization of mercy and compassion. As such, we do not want our security approach to be understood as one that consists of military and police security measures," he added.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan highlighted Ankara's new counterterrorism approach in late October, saying Turkey will tackle the problem at its source rather than dealing with the consequences of the terror threat.
"No matter where these groups are, where they have found shelter, we will go and deal with them there and destroy them. Do we have a threat in Syria and Iraq? We will destroy the threats right there. From now on, we will eliminate the PKK from where it is hiding, whether inside the country or outside the country," Erdoğan asserted on Oct. 19, while urging other states to cooperate with Turkey against terror groups. Meanwhile, a statement released yesterday by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said that a total of 94 terrorists were killed in the southeastern provinces of Hakkari, Şırnak, Diyarbakir, Bingöl, Tunceli, Muş and Ağrı. During the operations, a total of 53 PKK shelters and storage areas were destroyed in seven provinces.The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU, resumed its decades-old armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015.