Turkey

'Turkey to continue fearless fight against terrorism'

In wake of deadly attack, Turkey's president reiterates country's resolute stance against PKK terrorist group

Gözde Bayar,Rabia İclal Turan   | 13.09.2019
'Turkey to continue fearless fight against terrorism'

ANKARA 

Undaunted, Turkey will continue its fearless struggle against terrorism, said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.

Speaking in Istanbul after Friday prayers, Erdogan reiterated the country’s resolute stance against terrorism in the wake of a PKK terrorist attack Thursday in the southeastern Diyarbakir province which took the lives of seven civilians and injured nine others.

"No matter what happens, we will undauntedly continue our struggle. I believe that Turkey will eventually emerge victorious from this ordeal with its military, police, gendarmerie and security forces," said Erdogan.

Voicing support for the many mothers in Diyarbakir staging sit-in protests against the terrorist PKK abducting and trying to recruit their children, he said the current number of protesters may swell to the thousands.

Addressing the protesting mothers, Erdogan stressed that the government would stand by them and closely follow the issue.

Some 28 families are staging a demonstration in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir, claiming that the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) forcibly recruited their sons to the terrorist PKK.

The Turkish government has charged the HDP with having numerous links and providing support to the terrorist PKK.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

US attitude towards YPG is important

Turning to regional affairs, Erdogan also said that at a trilateral summit next Monday with Russian and Iranian leaders, he would discuss recent developments in Idlib, Syria -- about 400 kilometers (250 miles) from Diyarbakir, across Turkey’s southern border.

"This summit is a process. It started in Sochi and continued in Ankara. And later we continued it in Tehran," Erdogan said.

"We will continue to discuss developments in Idlib, including observation posts and the fight against terror organizations," he said.

Asked about a recent joint helicopter flight between Turkey and the U.S. for a planned safe zone east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, Erdogan underlined Ankara's concerns over Washington's attitude towards the YPG terrorist organization.

"We attach great importance to the U.S.'s attitude towards the PYD/YPG terror group. We haven’t seen the attitude we want yet," Erdogan told reporters.

Erdogan said that he would discuss the issue with U.S. President Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly in New York later this month.

On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.

On Sept. 12, two Turkish helicopters and two U.S. choppers took off from Akcakale in Sanliurfa, southeastern Turkey, where the two countries’ armed forces have a joint operations center from where they flew to the Syrian side of the border.

The countries’ armed forces had previously done three joint helicopter flights and a land patrol.

Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib would remain in areas where they were already present, while Russia and Turkey would carry out joint patrols in the area to prevent a resumption of fighting.

The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.

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