Turkey stands united with Turkmens, says Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Yalçın

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal
ANKARA
Published

Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ümit Yalçın indicated that the country stands united with Turkmens' resistance in Syria and Iraq and said: "Your cause is our cause, and our cause is your cause. If one of us is weak, all of us are weak; if we are powerful, you are also powerful."

Speaking at a panel organized by the Syrian-Turkmen Assembly and the Turkmen Cooperation and Culture Foundation in Ankara on Wednesday, "From Bayırbucak to Kirkuk: The strategic role of Turkmens in Syria and Iraq and in Turkey's security," Yalçın said that Turkey has been working on a ceasefire, humanitarian aid and the salvation of people and the moderate opposition for a long time, saying: "The announcement of a ceasefire, helping people to have a break from heavy bombardment and possibly a hundred thousands of lives, even if it is a bit late, are a consolation for us. We hope that this process will become permanent," he said.

During his speech, Yalçın indicated that Turks were under attack in Turkey, Iraq and Syria, and these shared pains were strengthening the bonds between them. Underscoring that Turkmens were always a significant element of both Iraq and Syria, Yalçın said Turkmen regions have suffered from oppression by regimes, terrorist organizations and extremists. Yalçın said unity is of the essence in the ongoing process.

Yalçın said that Turkmens in Iraq and Syria have been resisting for many years and added: "Turkey stands together with you in your resistance. These attacks target all of us in this region. If we are not united and divide into groups, such as Iraqi Turkmens, Syrian Turkmens and such, we cannot be successful in our resistance. Therefore, we first need to understand our own fight to achieve peace and tolerance for other groups in society." Yalçın explained how Turkey opened its borders to 100,000 Turkmens from Iraq and 500,000 from Syria, sharing their pain and trying to mend their wounds as much as they could with economic, social and humanitarian aid.

Speaking at the panel, Syrian Turkmen Assembly President Dr. Emin Bozoğlan said that they witnessed terrible cruelties in Aleppo and all of the Turkmen neighborhoods in Aleppo that are now under the control of both the Syrian regime and the PKK's Syrian offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD). "Even though the dynamics are different in Iraq and Syria, we Turkmens face the same threat. Aleppo's security is Turkey's security; Aleppo's security is directly connected with Turkey's security on the southern border. If Bayırbucak is safe, Hatay can also be safe. The real target is Turkmens and Turkey," said Bozoğlan. He added: "Turkey's line of security starts from Kirkuk, goes through Mosul, Raqqa, Aleppo and Bayırbucak, then reaches the Mediterranean. The protection of Turkmens is synonymous with Turkey's national security."

On the other hand, Iraqi Turkmen Front President and Kirkuk Member of Parliament Erşad Salihi said that the borders of the Middle East are being altered and Turkmens were being shared between the news states that would emerge. Adding that the PYD's armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), and Daesh are intentionally forcing a demographic change that strips Turkmens of their security, Salihi said, "For this very reason, a Turkish intervention - similar to Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria - may be required in Iraq as well."

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