Within the scope of Turkey’s anti-terror campaign, security forces have eliminated 523 high-ranking terrorists since 2016, according to the Interior Ministry’s data. Accordingly, the number includes 27 terrorists of the red category, 24 of the blue, 27 of the green, 43 of the orange and 259 of the grey. Further to these 380 high-ranking terrorists, a further 143 were eliminated who were not previously included on the list delivered by the Interior Ministry, but who were still in high positions within the terrorists groups in which they operating.
The wanted list, first devised in 2016, divides criminals into five color-coded categories, red marking the most wanted, followed by blue, green, orange and gray, depending on the nature of their criminal activity. The lists include names of high-ranking terrorists belonging to the PKK, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), Daesh and Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) terrorist organizations.
Furthermore, 618 terrorist attacks were prevented through operations carried out by the intelligence units of security forces. During these operations, 572 packages of explosive materials and four bomb-loaded vehicles were seized. 112 terrorists trying to conduct these attacks were eliminated as a result.
Yunus Durmaz, a self-proclaimed Daesh "emir" of Gaziantep, who was involved in shuttling suicide bombers to Ankara after having picked them up from the Syrian border to deliver explosives used in an attack, was one of the terrorists in the red category that were eliminated. His attack at an Ankara train station caused the death of 102 people. He also engaged in the devising and carrying out of attacks in Suruç, Istanbul and Diyarbakır.
Recently, a fellow terrorist in the red category, Müsluh Ike, allegedly a senior figure in charge of the terrorist group's activities in the Metina region, was killed in the operation conducted in cooperation with the Turkish military and the National Intelligence Organization. Ike joined the PKK in the 1990s, perpetrating several attacks.
Other red-category terrorists killed this year include Servet Aydın, code-named "Gülçiya," and Söylemez Yaşar, code-named "Tekoşin Batman," who were eliminated in the Gara region of northern Iraq. A member of the military council of PKK's female wing, YJA-STAR, Aydın was determined as responsible for attacks in Diyarbakır during the 2000s. It was found that Yaşar belonged to the executive council of the Gara region.
10 wanted DHKP-C terrorists captured in 2019
The Istanbul police office made a historic coup this year, capturing 10 DHKP-C terrorists from the Interior Ministry's list. The Istanbul Police Department's intelligence and anti-terror divisions have been redoubling their efforts to monitor terrorist organizations. Among the ten terrorists brought into custody this year, one was in the blue category, one in the green and eight in the grey categories.
Ümit İlter, who had taken over the leadership after founder of the DHKP-C Dursun Karataş was killed in 2008, was also captured in a raid in February. This success was seen as a huge defeat to the terrorist organization. Within the same operation, a terrorist allegedly responsible for Turkey, Caferi Sadık Eroğlu, wanted in the grey category, was captured together with Emel Yeşilırmak and İbrahim Gökçek.
Hatice Ruken Kılıç. head of the group's propaganda unit and placed in the blue category, Kılıç was captured on February 2. Kılıç, having perpetrated an attack on the U.S. Istanbul Consulate before fleeing the scene in 2015.
The DHKP-C, although less influential in Turkey than other terrorist organizations such as the PKK, still represents a considerable threat to the country's security. The group is an offshoot of a Marxist-Leninist movement - Dev Sol (Revolutionary Left) - that was established in the 1970s and claimed responsibility for a series of high-profile murders.
After Eroğlu was captured, Kamile Kayır – who took his position in the gray category – was also captured, in June. Seval Yaprak, of the organization's propaganda unit, was captured in October. After Yaprak, her replacement Çiğdem Şenyiğit was also detained. Haydar Alaçam, who was preparing a sensational attack and Ali Aracı of the Yürüyüş magazine published within the scope of the organization’s propaganda wing, were also detained.
Meryem Özsöğüt, again in the gray category, was detained in a cell house in 2018 in Istanbul’s Sarıyer district. Another high-ranking terrorist, Nurhan Yılmaz of the green category, was detained in the organization’s cell in Şişli.
Turkish security forces regularly conduct counterterrorism operations in Turkey's eastern and southeastern provinces, where the PKK has attempted to establish a strong presence. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) also carry out cross-border operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from which to carry out attacks on Turkey. The operations here intensified after July 2018 and became routine since the beginning of another extensive campaign, Operation Claw, which was launched by May 27 to entirely eliminate the presence of the terrorist organization in northern Iraq.
On July 13, the TSK launched Operation Claw-2 as a follow-up to the successful Claw-1. Like the first, the second operation was also launched in northern Iraq's Hakurk region and aimed to continue to destroy weapon placements and shelters used by PKK terrorists.
A subsequent Operation Claw-3 was initiated on Aug. 23 in the Sinat-Haftanin region in northern Iraq. The operation was launched to facilitate border security, eliminate the presence of terrorists and destroy terrorist caves and shelters in the region.