By Emin Avundukluoglu
Turkey’s president said on Tuesday that the Turkish military operation in Idlib, northwestern Syria is all but concluded.
Speaking to his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's parliamentary group, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "The operation in Idlib was largely completed."
"The Afrin issue is ahead of us," he added, referring to a city in northern Syria, and repeated an earlier statement on keeping regional peace: "We can come suddenly at night. We can suddenly hit at night."
Under the operation, in line with agreements reached at peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, Turkish troops were tasked with monitoring a cease-fire and establishing a series of observation posts along the line between the Syrian areas of Idlib and Afrin.
After crossing the frontier, Turkish troops were initially deployed near Afrin, which is situated along the Turkish border and is currently being held by the PKK/PYD terrorist group.
Since the PKK -- the PYD’s parent group -- launched its terror campaign in Turkey in 1984, some 40,000 people have been killed, including 1,200 since July 2015.
Turkey’s deployments are in line with agreements reached in Astana by the three guarantor states: Turkey,
During the deployment, Turkish troops were expected to set up more than 10 observation posts in Idlib.
While the Turkish military has been tasked with establishing observation posts in central Idlib, Russia has been tasked with doing the same in outlying areas.
US’ ally in Syria, arrest warrants
Turning to tensions with the U.S., Erdogan spoke on the banner of PKK terrorist leader Abdullah Ocalan that was unfurled last week in Raqqah, Syria after it was retaken from Daesh.
After the incident, the U.S. Embassy condemned the banner, adding that Ocalan “is not worthy of respect.”
The force retaking the city, the SDF, includes the PKK/PYD, the Syrian offshoot of the terrorist PKK. Turkey has strongly objected to the U.S. recognizing the PKK as terrorist yet arming and equipping its “reliable ally” the PKK/PYD, which it does not recognize as a terror group.
Slamming the embassy statement as an attempt to cover the U.S.’ mistakes, Erdogan said, "What kind of remark is that? Does this suit a country like you? Well, you have been the cradle of democracy."
Erdogan also criticized the U.S. over issuing arrest warrants for his security guards over a brawl this May when he visited Washington, D.C.
"You are just strong enough to issue arrest warrants for my 13 security guards, most of whom have never seen America before," said Erdogan.
Erdogan urges more UN cooperation against terrorism
President Erdogan on Tuesday urged more UN cooperation and solidarity against terrorism around the globe in his United Nations Day message.
"Daesh, al-Qaeda, YPG, PKK, DHKP-C, and FETO are all a great risk not only to our country's security but the security and stability of our region and the whole world," Erdogan said.
"No excuse or plan can legitimize terror and arming the terrorist organizations," he said. "It is high time that cooperation and solidarity should be increased [among the] UN against terrorism."
Oct. 24, 1945 was when the UN Charter came into force and is celebrated annually as United Nations Day. In 1971, the UN General Assembly recommended the day be observed by member states as a public holiday.
Erdogan reiterated his repeated call for UN reform: "Reform at the UN is needed, which cannot be delayed, neglected, or ignored."
Recalling his famous slogan "the world is bigger than five" -- a reference to the five permanent Security Council members China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- Erdogan asked:
"As long as the current injustice at the UN Security Council is not fixed, will it be possible to establish world peace and to achieve a complete UN reform successfully?"
He said Turkey would continue to offer support for reform which he said would turn the UN into a more "fair, democratic, transparent, effective and accountable" structure.
About his country's "significant contributions" to UN efforts, Erdogan recalled how Turkey cared for more than three million Syrians fleeing war in their homeland.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, in his UN Day message, called for international cooperation against terrorism “which constitutes a threat to the security and peace of all humanity”.
“As the prime minister of a country which has struggled with terrorism for years, I believe that the fight against terrorism can only be achieved by international cooperation and solidarity,” Yildirim said.