Turkey has no eyes on anybody’s land, freedom or interests, but is currently carrying out an anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria out of necessity to ensure national security, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Monday.
“Others may have different interests in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Africa and the Balkans but Turkey is there (in Syria) only because of a common fate with our brothers and sisters,” the president said, adding: “This is a virtue that those who think a few drops of oil are more important than blood cannot understand or comprehend.”
Erdoğan highlighted that Turkey will continue to maintain its firm stance against terrorists and oppressors and will never sit on the negotiating table with the terrorists.
Noting that the world has been through radical transformations throughout the centuries, Erdoğan said that the Middle East, in particular, has been through ups and downs.
“Even though the center of gravity that has been changing and the world seems like it has changed in the past few centuries, this region remains as the focus of the struggle,” the president said, adding that this puts Turkey in the center of all developments.
The president touched upon the injustice regarding the United Nations Security Council, which gives veto power to the five permanent members, often making the U.N. ineffective at times of global crises.
“It is not humane or fair to confine critical global decisions affecting millions of people to five permanent members of the U.N.; we repeat, the world is bigger than five,” Erdoğan said.
The president criticized the West for siding with People’s Protection Units (YPG) terrorists, and questioned their sincerity regarding the fight against terrorism.
“The West as a whole stood on the side of terrorists and attacked us. All of them, including NATO and the European Union countries. You say you’re against terrorism but since when you started acting in line with the terrorists?”
Erdoğan also said he will be traveling to the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi on Tuesday to hold a meeting with Vladimir Putin to discuss the developments in Syria and steps to be taken.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the PKK’s Syrian offshoot the YPG, on Oct. 9 at 4 p.m.
The operation, conducted in line with the country’s right to self-defense borne out of international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions, aims to establish a terror-free safe zone for Syrians return in the area east of the Euphrates River controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists.
Turkey and Washington agreed on Thursday for Ankara to halt its operation for 120 hours while YPG terrorists withdraw from a safe zone in northeastern Syria.
The PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, resulting in the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for nearly 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to return home.
The TRT World Forum is taking place on Oct. 21-22 to discuss a number of global issues. This year’s theme was announced as “Globalization in Retreat: Risks and Opportunities.”