Turkey 'neutralized' 420 senior militants in 2.5 years: Erdoğan
Turkey “neutralized” over 400 high-level militants over past two and-half years, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 16. “In just two-and-half years alone, we have neutralized 420 so-called high-level terrorists, including 16 red-listed terrorists,” Erdoğan told members of domestic security agencies following a fast-breaking meal, or iftar, in Istanbul.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured. “We have decreased the number of terrorists on our borders to around 700, which was once around 2,000,” he said, adding that there was a considerable decrease in the number of people joining the terror group and its capacity to act.
Erdoğan also said that the “murderers,” who attempted to attack on unity, solidarity, and lives of the Turkish nation, have been made to pay the price of each drop of blood they shed. “They will continue to pay for it,” he added. He noted that Turkey's operations in Syria have dealt a heavy blow to offshoots of ISIL and the PKK.
Some 320,000 out of around 3.6 million Syrians, who took refuge in Turkey due to the civil war in their country, have returned to home after Ankara's operations.