800 PKK militants surrender: Soylu

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A member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) carries an automatic rifle on a road in the Qandil Mountains, the PKK headquarters in northern Iraq, on June 22, 2018. Hundreds of Iraqi Kurds marched Friday to protest Turkish strikes against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would press an operation against its bases. / AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED

The minister noted that officials contacted families of 350 militants who were convinced to give themselves up in two years.

Soylu added that in the first two months of 2019, 42 PKK militants surrendered, including 27 who were convinced to give themselves up. Last week, the minister announced that the number of those joining the ranks of the PKK was at its lowest in 30 years.

“There were 15,000 terrorists in the mountains. Now this number has fallen to 700,” said Soylu, speaking at an event in Istanbul on March 1.

Also in a speech he delivered on March 2 in the northeastern province of Bayburt, Soylu noted that the government has stepped up the number of its counter-terror operations against the PKK across the country.

“Since the beginning of 2019, we have conducted 16,244 operations against the PKK. This figure was 60,733 in 2017, and reached 104,534 in 2018,” Soylu told a meeting of civil society group representatives and local officials in Bayburt.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

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