Erdogan threatens to mount military op. in Syria's new areas

TEHRAN, Jun. 01 (MNA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey is set to clear two areas of northern Syria, near the Turkish border, of terrorist elements and the Turkish operation will continue gradually in other parts of Syria.

Turkey is set to clear two areas of northern Syria, near the Turkish border, of terrorist elements in a bid to eliminate the terror threat from the region, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reported. 

“We are entering a new phase of our decision to establish a safe zone 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) deep south (of the Turkish-Syrian border). We are clearing Tel Rifat and Manbij of terrorists,” he told a group meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) Party in the capital Ankara.

Erdogan has said as the US and Russia failed to live up to their commitments to provide such a safe zone in the border region, Turkey is ready to mount an operation to protect the nation and locals in northern Syria from the YPG/PKK terrorist threat.

Turkey has long been violating the territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria by claiming to confront the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The PKK has been in a military confrontation with the Ankara government for the past 35 years.

Turkey says PKK militants are responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 Turkish citizens, including women and children.

Ankara has repeatedly claimed to have targeted PKK military bases in northern Iraq. However, villagers in the area have reported that civilian settlements have been targeted.

Turning to Finland and Sweden’s bid to join NATO, Erdogan reiterated Turkey's objection to the move, saying both countries have supported and provided a safe haven to terrorists, including members of the YPG/PKK and others.

Sweden and Finland have not yet provided Turkey with any concrete responses meeting its expectations, and NATO is an organization of security, not a body supporting terrorism, said Erdogan.

How can Turkey approve of the Swedish and Finnish NATO bids given that the terror affiliates “freely roam, hold rallies there?” he asked, stressing that Ankara expects European countries to act sincerely and address its concerns.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO on May 18. But Turkey, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups such as the YPG/PKK and FETO, the group responsible for a failed 2016 coup in Turkey.

Their accession requires unanimous approval from all 30 NATO member states.

ZZ/PR

News Code 187482

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