Turkey does not accept criticism regarding its anti-terror operation in Syria as dozens of terrorist groups are roaming freely without any opposition, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday.
"Turkey will ignore criticisms about Operation Peace Spring which we launched against terrorist elements while more than 10 foreign actors roam freely in Syria," the president said.
Erdoğan harshly criticized Saudi Arabia and others for opposing Turkey's operation:
"I urge Saudi Arabia to look in the mirror and answer for what it has done to Yemen," Erdoğan said.
"And Egypt [referring to el-Sissi], you can't say a thing. You allowed democratically-elected Morsi to die suffering in a courtroom," the president said, noting that the country did not even allow Morsi's family to attend his funeral. "That's the sort of killer you are," he said.
"Turkey has neutralized a total of 16,000 terrorists, including 7,500 at home and 8,500 abroad in the past four years," Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan said Ankara will do whatever is necessary for Daesh terrorists found in areas captured as part of the operation, whether it be imprisonment or sending them back to their own countries.
Meanwhile, the president highlighted that Turkey deported 7,600 Daesh-linked suspects from 102 countries, while it blocked the entry of some 77,000 suspects from 151 countries.
"Turkey will keep Daesh fighters who need to be imprisoned in jails, while it will send the ones to their own countries if accepted," the president added.
The president noted that a total of 109 terrorists have been killed since October 9, the start of the operation.
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 People's Protection Units (YPG), on October 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.
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.
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