PKK’s internal communication drops by 80% thanks to counterterrorism ops

Internal communication of the PKK dropped by 80% compared with previous years as counterterrorism operations of Turkey proved successful in seizing the terrorist group’s transmitters, security forces said on Sunday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), sources stated that during the counterterrorism operations in the last three years, 815 handheld, long-range radios and transmitters with international communication capability had been seized.

Some 330 transmitters were captured back in 2018, 279 in 2019 and 206 in 2020, the sources said, adding that there had been a remarkable drop in internal communications by the terrorist group thanks to such seizures.

This decline in communication caused the terrorist group’s headquarters to lose its connection with the so-called rural branches. Thus, as the ties with the headquarters have loosened, unable to receive instructions over the transmitters, the lower ranks of the group started to dissolve with the number of surrenders increasing daily.

In this respect, the recent series of “Lightning” operations, during which 153 terrorists were killed, are referred to as quite effective. The majority of the members of the group, who were captured during these operations, stated in their testimonies that the PKK had lost a huge amount of transmitters. They expressed that the high-rank officials of the terrorist group are now hesitant to use the remaining transmitters as well, as they are afraid that their location can be determined. Such hesitation leaves the lower ranks helpless as they fail to communicate with their so-called leaders.

The terrorist leaders constantly change their locations in Iraq, Syria and Iran and hide in the mountains to avoid being caught by Turkish security forces. Accordingly, they avoid using all communication tools, including transmitters, and refrain from making any contact with other members of the terrorist group, intelligence reports said back in June 2020. Instead, they use fellow terrorists as couriers if they want to send a message to someone.

Turkish security forces regularly conduct counterterrorism activities in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey, where the PKK has attempted to establish a strong presence.

Security forces have adopted a strategy of “ending terrorism at its root” and “attack rather than defend” for operations across the country.

Back in September 2020, it was reported that the continuous operations, especially the attacks by Turkish drones, caused fear among terrorists, forcing them to cover themselves up with camouflage clothes. According to Sabah daily, Turkish intelligence units determined that the terrorists started to wear camouflage back in June 2020. Known as “sniper” clothes, the terrorists falsely assumed that the fringed tops would not be detectable in optical and thermal scanning. However, still, since June 2020, Turkish security forces have managed to kill a large amount of terrorists, most of whom were wearing camouflage clothing that is suitable for field conditions.

The PKK’s acting leader, Murat Karayılan, was also broadcast last year while wearing camouflage clothes. Commenting on the success of the Turkish drones, Karayılan said: “Turkey receives effective results. We paid a remarkable price.”

As Turkish security forces carry out counterterrorism operations in and outside Turkey, many terrorists continue to surrender voluntarily. Surrendering terrorists commonly depict that many others cannot do so out of fear for their lives due to threats by high-ranking terrorist members.

A total of 321 terrorists surrendered in 2020, Interior Ministry spokesperson Ismail Çataklı said on Jan.5.

“A total of 243 of the surrendered terrorists have stepped down from the mountains after being persuaded by their families,” Çataklı said in a press conference in Ankara.

Once the terrorists surrender, they are provided with many opportunities, including the right to education and the freedom to live without fear of oppression. They are not ill-treated, can contact their families freely and are provided with essential judicial assistance. The Turkish state offers a variety of services to ensure their social reintegration.

The latest incident took place Sunday. The Interior Ministry reported that five PKK members, including those involved in the terrorist group for 30 years, surrendered to security forces at southeastern Şırnak’s Habur Border Gate.

This brings the number of terrorists who have surrendered to Turkey in 2021 up to nine in just two weeks since the year began.

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