Turkey needs to clear terrorists off its borders with Iraq and Syria, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairperson Devlet Bahçeli said Tuesday.
Speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting in the capital Ankara, Bahçeli said the fight against terrorists was necessary to put an end to terrorist attacks and hold them accountable for their crimes.
Earlier in October, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledged that Turkey would take necessary steps in Syria as soon as possible following the latest attack by the PKK terrorist group’s Syrian offshoot, the YPG, which killed two Turkish police officers.
Districts of northern Syria under Turkish control are regularly targeted by the YPG, which seized large swathes of land in the northern parts of the war-torn country with the Assad regime’s blessing when clashes intensified in 2012.
The PKK is a designated terrorist organization in the United States, Turkey and the European Union, and Washington’s support for its Syrian affiliate has been a major strain on bilateral relations with Ankara.
The U.S. primarily partnered with the YPG in northeastern Syria in its fight against the Daesh terrorist group. On the other hand, Turkey strongly opposed the YPG’s presence in northern Syria. Ankara has long objected to the U.S. support for the YPG, a group that poses a threat to Turkey and that terrorizes local people, destroying their homes and forcing them to flee.
Under the pretext of fighting Daesh, the U.S. has provided military training and given truckloads of military support to the YPG, despite its NATO ally’s security concerns. Underlining that one cannot support one terrorist group to defeat another, Turkey conducted its own counterterrorism operations, over the course of which it has managed to remove a significant number of terrorists from the region.
Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful counterterrorism operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents – namely operations Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019).