MHP leader: Turkey needs to act strategically in Idlib to counter threats

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 11.10.2017 00:24

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli said yesterday that Turkey should be ready to counter threats and act strategically during the Idlib operation, as it is expected to be a long-term endeavor.

Speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting, Bahçeli stressed that the Idlib operation is expected to last a long time and, therefore, Turkey should take the necessary measures against threats, adding: "We should act wisely, patiently and strategically, and if required, we should not avoid an armed struggle." Bahçeli said that the Turkish military should be ready to retaliate against any kind of threat, adding that Turkey should ensure border security and remain alert to counter every threat, provocation and plot coming from across the border.Bahçeli said the Idlib operation will further damage the PKK and its Syrian affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD), following the previous Operation Euphrates Shield in al-Bab. He also said cleansing Idlib of terrorist organizations will further damage the PYD's People's Protection Units (TPG) and prevent its expansion toward the Mediterranean Sea.

"The operation will also play an important role in cleansing the area of al-Qaida and its affiliates," he said. "Idlib should be under the governance of its real owners to provide Turkey's security."Explaining that Turkey started its operation on Oct. 8 following an agreement made during the Astana talks between Turkey, Russia and Iran on the establishment of a de-conflict zone, Bahçeli said Turkey should take measures in an event of a refugee flow, which could occur during the operation, adding that a joint coordination center will be established within the scope of the Astana talks. He also said the Astana talks emphasized peace and stability for the region. Commenting on the future of the operation, Bahçeli said it will be affected by relations between the parties to the Astana talks and the local population's approach to the operation, urging countries to comply with the final agreement during the talks.

Bahçeli reiterated that the MHP supports Iraq's territorial integrity, adding that Turkey should enhance cooperation with Baghdad. He added that if Iraq disintegrates, Turkey will act in accordance with its national pact. "We will support the integrity of Iraq and Syria, and if these countries disintegrate, we cannot stay out of the situation," Bahçeli added.Bahçeli slammed some Turkish media outlets for criticizing the MHP for speaking out about Kirkuk and Mosul, which Bahçeli insinuated could become parts of Turkey, stressing that those criticizing the MHP the mouthpieces for Turkey's enemies. He added that the MHP will not change its policy, even though some columnists claim otherwise. Saying that they aim to discredit the MHP, Bahçeli drew attention to the fact that they are not questioning the U.S. presence in Iraq and Syria, although they are questioning the MHP over its speeches regarding Kirkuk.

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