Turkey army 'killed 13,000 IS and Kurdish fighters'

Turkey army 'killed 13,000 IS and Kurdish fighters'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims his security forces have killed over 13,000 IS and Kurdish militants in the past year-and-a-half.
2 min read
05 March, 2017
Erdogan is promoting constitutional changes subject to a referendum on 16 April [Anadolu]

Turkish security forces have killed more than 3,000 Islamic State group militants and 10,000 fighters from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the past 18 months, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed on Saturday.

"There is a Turkey now that brings confidence to friends and spreads fear to terrorist organisations," he said in a rally in Turkey's south-western Tekirdag province.

In the rally, held to promote constitutional changes subject to a referendum on 16 April, Erdogan also said his country would continue to "fight against terrorism until all terror organisations were eradicated", according to state-run Anadolu Agency.

Under the new proposed constitution, Turkey would have an executive presidency along the lines of France or the US, including powers to directly appoint top public officials such as ministers.

The government says the new changes will ensure political stability, but which critics say will drag Turkey into one-man rule.

Turkey began an unprecedented campaign inside Syria on 24 August, targeting both IS and Kurdish militias.

The PKK is proscribed by Ankara, the US and the EU as a terror group.

The group has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 during which over 40,000 people have been killed.

Last year saw a series of attacks in Turkey blamed on Kurdish and IS militants while 2017 began with a bloody start.

During New Year celebrations a suspected IS militants killed 39 people, most of whom were foreigners, in an armed attack on a popular Istanbul nightclub.

IS claimed the attack and a few days later the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a splinter group of the PKK, claimed responsibility for an attack that left two dead in the Aegean city of Izmir.