Turkey, Middle East

Turkey to take urgent action against threats from Syria

National Security Council says no terror corridor will be allowed across Turkey-Syria border

Turkey to take urgent action against threats from Syria

By Enes Kaplan and Mumin Altas


Turkey's top civil and military leadership said Wednesday it will take 'immediate' and 'resolute' steps to protect the nation from threats coming from western Syria.

"Necessary steps would be taken immediately and resolutely to defeat any threat against Turkey from western Syria in the first stage," said a statement issued following the National Security Council meeting in the capital Ankara.

The meeting, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, lasted more than four hours.

The statement added that necessary steps will be taken to secure the life and property of the local community, and strengthen Turkey's border with Syria.

"The establishment of a terror corridor and the formation of a terrorist army across the border will not be allowed."

The council rejected the U.S. plan to establish a 30,000-strong border security force in Syria, manned by the SDF, a group dominated by the terrorist group PYD/PKK

"It is regrettable that a state, which is part of NATO and our ally in bilateral relations, declares the terrorists as its partner and provides them with weapons, without any concern for our safety," the statement added.

- Cabinet meeting

“Weapons, tools and materials given to PYD/PKK – YPG terrorist group must be collected without delay,” it said, adding that the fight against Daesh has been completed on a large scale.

The council also advised the government to extend the country's state of emergency, a proposal which was later submitted to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey by the Cabinet.

Following the council meeting, a Cabinet meeting, also chaired by Erdogan, began at 8.30 p.m. (0530GMT) and lasted an hour.

“Nobody should expect Turkey to be patient any more,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said over U.S. arming of YPG/PKK, during a news conference after the Cabinet meeting.

He reiterated that Turkey is determined to take the necessary steps regarding the issue, adding it faces threats at its border which "everybody is aware of".

“Establishing a terror corridor in the region, supporting this establishment is unarguably an open threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity and border security, to the safety of life and property of our citizens and to national security,” Bozdag said.

He said Turkey has been very clear regarding the arming of terrorist groups and has used all diplomatic means to express its reservations on the issue.

“[The U.S.] did wrong by continuing to fight a terrorist organization using another terrorist organization.”

He added: “The provided weapons are not the weapons only to be used against Daesh terrorist organization. Daesh does not have air forces. When you consider the aid, it includes weapons to be used against air forces.”

The PYD/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist group, which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

Turkey has long protested U.S. support for the PYD/PKK and its military wing the YPG, while Washington has called it a "reliable ally" in its fight against Daesh in Syria.

Since the mid-1980s, the PKK has waged a wide-ranging terror campaign against the Turkish state, in which an estimated 40,000 people have been killed.

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