A total of 98 terrorists were killed last week in Turkey and northern Syria, Turkish military said in a statement Friday. The Turkish General Staff said in a statement that 27 terrorists were killed in anti-PKK operations in Turkey while 71 members of the PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) were killed as part of the Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield, which began last August. According to the statement, Turkish soldiers have destroyed 24 shelters that were used by the PKK and seized weapons and nearly 1000 kilos of drugs during the anti-PKK operations. Meanwhile, military sources said three armed vehicles belonging to terrorists were also destroyed in northern Syria’s al-Bab, a city that was liberated from the group’s clutches, last week. Anti-PKK operations in Turkey’s eastern provinces of Siirt, Bingöl, Kars, Tunceli, Diyarbakır, Bitlis, Mardin, and Ağrı were still ongoing, the army added.
Syria’s Foreign Ministry has sent complaints to the UN Secretary-General and UN Security Council President over the Turkish army’s continuing “aggression” against the war-torn country, the SANA news agency reported Friday. In its letters, the ministry also demanded from the UN and the international community to oblige Turkey to withdraw its troops from Syrian territory.
The foreign ministers of Turkey and Germany held a breakfast meeting in Berlin on Wednesday, the first meeting of government representatives since a diplomatic row about a controversial ban on Turkish officials campaigning in the country and the arrest of journalist DenizYücel. Foreign Minister MevlütÇavuşoğlu and German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel discussed the diplomatic relationship between the two countries, which has become increasingly strained in the recent days. The two foreign ministers expressed a common desire to lower tensions and normalize relations, while encouraging dialogue as not to damage their historical ties. Çavuşoğlu was in Germany to promote constitutional reform that would expand the powers of presidency and abolish the post of prime minister. Some 1.4 million Turks are eligible to vote in a referendum on the issue, which is scheduled for April 16. Gabriel said Wednesday, while warning Ankara that comparisons to Nazis in any row is a “red line that cannot be crossed”. Despite the differences on both sides, “there is no alternative to dialogue because that is the only way we can return step by step to a normal and friendly relationship”, he said. In a statement after the meeting, Gabriel said he addressed the referendum, campaigning by Turkish ministers in Germany, as well as the arrest of German-Turkish journalist DenizYücel, which he referred to as “wrong and inappropriate”. Turkey accuses Die Welt correspondent Yücel of links with the RedHack, a band of hackers known for their terror links, in addition to propaganda on behalf of the PKK terrorist group.
Iranian Ambassador to Turkey Mohammad EbrahimTaherianFard made assurances that the Islamic Republic’s Foreign Ministry will not allow disrespect for its citizens in neighboring countries and will show proper reaction. TaherianFard reacted to a video footage recently published in social media showing Turkish policemen beating some Iranian nationals in Gürbulak border checkpoint, saying the authenticity of the footage has not been confirmed yet and is under investigation and he added, the Iranian embassy in Turkey will seriously follow up on the issue.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has warned Greece not to try the country’s patience amid fresh tension between the two countries over remarks by Greek Foreign Minister NicosKotzias, which he described as “provocative.” Çavuşoğlu’s remarks follow the latest row between himself and his Greek counterpart, who previously criticized the Turkish top brass’ visit to the long-disputed Kardak islets in the Aegean Sea. He also advised Kotzias to closely follow developments from Turkey in its fight against terror inside the country and abroad and not to mistake the abilities of the Turkish Armed Forces. The islets, named Imia in Greek and Kardak in Turkish, are two small uninhabited rocks in the Aegean Sea, situated between the Greek island chain of the Dodecanese and the southwestern mainland coast of Turkey. The two countries nearly went to war over the islets in 1996 in an escalation that resulted in both sides landing soldiers on an islet each. The minister also refuted claims that Ankara wanted to benefit from Athens’ economic weakness, noting that the country encouraged millions of Turks to visit Greece every year and also limited its activities in the Aegean for years despite all kinds of provocation. The number of Turkish citizens who have illegally entered Greece since the attempted takeover now stands at 100, including the eight ex-soldiers who fled to the country in a stolen helicopter hours after orchestrating the coup and requested asylum. Ankara has repeatedly requested the extradition of the eight men, promising they would get fair trials upon return. However, the Greek Supreme Court ruled against their extradition in January