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Turkey seeks permanent solution in Iraq, Syria: Erdogan

"Turkey is not a country which would allow itself to be exploited in the pursuit of temporary solutions," says Turkish President.

Turkey seeks permanent solution in Iraq, Syria: Erdogan


While being open to all types of cooperation regarding the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant terrorism in Iraq and Syria, Turkey will not allow itself to be exploited in the pursuit for temporary solutions, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared.

In a keynote speech during the opening of the country's new legislative year on Wednesday, Erdogan said: "It is not possible that we would tolerate any terrorist organization - neither in our territories, nor in the region and the world.

"Turkey analyzes the crises in Iraq and Syria in the best way. It is a country which can establish a dialogue with all parties in the region."

He went on: "A decisive struggle with all terrorist groups in the region should be provided, and Turkey's proposals and warnings should be taken into account otherwise, tons of bombs that would be dropped from the air would only delay the threat and the danger."

A U.S.-led international coalition launched airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria on August 8 and September 20 respectively.

The U.S. has asked Turkey to be allowed to use its airspace for the transit of coalition fighter jets.

- 'Peace and security'

But given the massive flows of refugees that such airstrikes would create for Turkey, the country has demanded U.N.-set safe zones to be set up to protect Syrians inside Syria.

Erdogan said: "The peace, stability and security in the region are directly related to Turkey’s own peace, stability and security.

"Staying silent on the incidents in Libya, Palestine, Egypt, Somalia, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Yemen, Iraq and Syria is to deny Turkey's history and heritage and even its own existence."

Erdogan also called on European countries to share Turkey's burden in accommodating Syrian people fleeing the violence in their country.

He said: "The total number of refugees that the whole Europe accommodates are 130,000.

"The number of Syrians in Turkey has grown to 1.5 million and Turkey has so far spent some $4 billion on the Syrians it hosts and, with cross-border aid, this number reaches $4.5 billion."

"Turkey extends its helping hand to every Syrian, without looking at their identities as being Arab, Kurdish, Turkmen, Ezidi, Shiite, Nusayri, Christian or Jewish," he said.

- 'Parallel state' warning

He also said that Turkey's EU membership process should continue and speed up.

Referring to domestic politics, Erdogan said: “Parallel state structure wants to demolish legal-democratic politics, without having any political representation or legality, by manipulating some circles in public institutions.

“The parallel structure aims to shape the state using state institutions as a tool and it is an initiative towards a typical bureaucratic tutelage.”

Erdogan has accused the Gulen movement, a religious network led by U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, of infiltrating the Turkish state and attempting to overthrow the government and has moved against the organizations' supporters allegedly embedded in the police and judiciary. 

Several high-profile figures, including the sons of three former government ministers and leading business figures, were arrested and then freed on December 17 and 25 during anti-graft operations. 

Underlining the importance of democratic elections, Erdogan said: “Any way or method to determine the Turkish Republic's government, other than going to the ballot box, are illegal.

“Those who appeal to terrorism, violence and street protests and other power groups, instead of the ballot box, are actually denying themselves.”

- 'Meaningless fears'

Erdogan also praised the success of the solution process aimed at ending Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, terrorism, new freedoms allowing headscarves to be worn in public institutions, and different languages and dialects being used in broadcasting and higher education.

Praising Turkey’s average growth level in the last 12 years as 5 percent, which he said had been achieved through stability in the country, Erdogan said: "We recently saw that scenarios of division, break ups and internal conflicts were baseless and meaningless fears."

Erdogan also criticized the targeting of Turkey on press freedoms by some domestic and international media organizations.

He said: "Press freedoms and freedom of expression in Turkey has become ever more consolidated, in an incomparable level to the past.

"However, it is not possible that Turkey stays silent on the exploitation of these freedoms in a way to limit the freedom of others, violate the right to privacy or threaten our national security."


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