By Ali Kemal Akan and Enes Kaplan
Turkey rejects any presence of the PYD, the Syrian affiliate of the terrorist PKK, along its border with Syria, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Tuesday.
"[Turkey’s] 911-kilometer (560-mile) border with Syria going into the hands of a single terrorist organization, the PYD, is not something that Turkey can accept," Kurtulmus told private Turkish channel NTV.
The PYD has recently made gains against the forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime in northeastern Syria, according to local sources on the ground.
Kurtulmus said rocket attacks launched by Daesh and the PYD in Syria "disturb" Turkey's borders, particularly the Kilis province.
"That is why Turkey closely follows these [border] issues for its national security and Syria's territorial integrity," he added.
Kurtulmus reiterated that the Assad regime must lay down its arms.
"There is a policy in Syria that does not work and makes no progress for the world. It has to be quickly changed, and a peace perspective – which the Syrian people want – needs to be revealed," he added.
Supreme Military Council meeting
About Tuesday’s Supreme Military Council (YAS) meeting – the second since the July 15 coup – Kurtulmus said it was an "important" meeting to make a "stronger" Turkish Armed Forces.
"Today's YAS meeting was a sign of ending the coup tradition,” Kurtulmus said.
At the meeting a total of 586 colonels were retired from the Turkish Armed Forces. The figure includes 470 army colonels, 71 from the navy and 45 air force colonels.
The council also extended the tenures of 434 colonels from across the three services by two years. The length of service for all officers was also shortened from 31 to 28 years, beginning at the end of August.
* Diyar Guldogan contributed to this report from Ankara.
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