Turkey in plans to launch military operation against ISIS, foreign minister says

Published 05.11.2015 10:03
Updated 05.11.2015 10:05
emAA Photo/em
AA Photo

Turkey has plans to launch a military operation against ISIS in the near future, the Turkish foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Feridun Sinirlioğlu was at a conference on the future of Middle East, held in Erbil in northern Iraq's Kurdish region.

"Daesh [ISIS] threatens our way of life and security. [...] We have plans to act militarily against them in the coming days. You will see. We should all stand together against this danger," he said.

ISIS is believed to have been behind the Ankara bombing that killed 102 people.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's office said last Wednesday that a ISIS cell from Gaziantep, a province in southern Turkey that borders Syria, carried out the Oct. 10 bombing, which was the deadliest in recent Turkish history.

According to prosecutors, there is also strong evidence that the cell was responsible for the Suruç suicide bombing on July 20 that killed more than 30 pro-Kurdish activists.

The June 5 attack on an HDP rally in Diyarbakır that killed four were also pinned onISIS.

Since the Ankara bombing, there has been an increase in police operations against ISIS supporters in Turkey. Turkish jets on Saturday joined the U.S.-led coalition forces in an operation against ISIS positions near the Turkish-Syrian border.

The operations left more than 50 ISIS militants dead and 30 injured, Turkish security sources said.

The Turkish foreign minister said Turkey would continue supporting Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdish region in the fight against ISIS.

"We will continue our efforts to eliminate all terrorist organizations. We will act in a responsible manner so that the Kurdish region and Iraq can be successful in the fight against terror. This is a very clear message to Iraq and the Kurdish region for a bright future," he said.

Sinirlioğlu also commented on what is commonly known as the solution process, which was officially initiated in early 2013 and was aimed at ending the 30-year conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK. The PKK has renewed its armed campaign against Turkish forces following the Suruç attack, effectively bringing the process to a standstill.

"The goal of the process was to ensure that democratic politics would replace terror. However, none of the promises [regarding laying down arms] were kept. [...] We continued to be in dialogue, but it turned out that the PKK didn't care at all about the promises made," he said.

"If democratic politics is of importance, then weapons must be laid down. Armed militants are unthinkable in a democratic process. The presence of a terrorist organization in the solution process is unacceptable," he added.

KRG sources have further said Sinirlioğlu held bilateral talks with President Barzani as well other as other officials in the region. It has been reported that they discussed adding a pipeline to the Irbil-Ceyhan oil pipeline, as the KRG has an active role in northern Syria. Following the previous conflict between Baghdad and Irbil due to oil exportation to Turkey, it was reported that the Turkish government is holding talks to establish an additional pipeline along with aiming to gain the upper hand in international arbitration

Since July, more than 100 members of the security forces have been killed and hundreds of PKK terrorists killed in operations across Turkey and northern Iraq, including airstrikes.

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