Turkish troops to enter east of Euphrates 'very soon'

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warns of any stalling east of Euphrates River, saying Turkey fully prepared to realize plans

Mehmet Tosun   | 26.08.2019
Turkish troops to enter east of Euphrates 'very soon'

MUS, Turkey

Turkish land troops are expected to enter east of the Euphrates River very soon, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday.

"I hope no one will try to test Turkey's determination to clear its Syrian borders of terrorists," Erdogan said, speaking at an event in the eastern city of Mus to mark the 948th anniversary of the Battle of Malazgirt.

Erdogan said Turkey prioritize diplomacy, dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation on problem solving for "more beneficial" results for all sides.

Erdogan also warned of any stalling east of the Euphrates River, adding that Turkey is "fully prepared to realize its plans".

He said that Turkey's armed unmanned aerial vehicles (AUAV) along with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and helicopters entered the region the east of the river.

"Once crossing our borders with the air and land elements of us, we will have the opportunity to see the situation more closely and determine the future of the process," Erdogan said.

On the establishment of a safe zone in Syria, Erdogan said: "The complicated plan in the region and the treacherous traps in abundance will never hinder our path."

Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria -- Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch -- to purge the region of terrorist groups Daesh and the YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the terrorist organization 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.


Eastern Mediterranean

The president also reiterated determination to continue Turkey’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"Our drilling and seismic survey activities in the Eastern Mediterranean are underway at full speed, and no one will be able to restrain us there," Erdogan said.

Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.

Since spring this year, Ankara has sent two drilling vessels -- Fatih and most recently Yavuz -- to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and the TRNC to the resources of the region.

Turkey’s first seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa, bought from Norway in 2013, has been conducting exploration in the Mediterranean since April 2017.

Athens and Greek Cypriots have opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships’ crews and enlisting EU leaders to join their criticism.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.

The decades since then have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.


Battle of Malazgirt

Marking the 948th anniversary of the victory of Malazgirt, Erdogan said Anatolia will remain Turkish people’s homeland until the end of time.

“With the courage we received from Malazgirt and the inspiration we received from Ahlat [a district in Bitlis province home to various ancient civilizations], we will continue our sacred journey more decisively,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan wished God's mercy to all those "heroes" standing behind the Battle of Malazgirt, a historic victory for Turks in Anatolia nearly a millennium ago.

He also pointed out that the geographies where ancestors ruled peacefully, safely and prosperously for centuries, nowadays have been "writhing in cruelty and misery".

"No political or economic interest can prevent us from telling the truth, standing next to the truth and supporting the oppressed and the victim," Erdogan said.

Turkish control of Anatolia began with the Battle of Malazgirt, also known as Battle of Manzikert, on Aug. 26, 1071, which saw the Seljuk Turks led by Sultan Alparslan defeat a much larger Byzantine army.

The victory accelerated the decline of the Byzantine Empire and led to more Turks settling in the region, paving the way for both the Ottoman Empire and the modern Republic of Turkey.

Centuries later, foreign occupation prompted Turkey’s War of Independence in 1919, in which Turkish forces -- led by General Mustafa Kemal -- eventually drove the invaders from Anatolia.

From Aug. 26 to Aug. 30 of 1922, Turkish forces fought the Battle of Dumlupinar in Turkey’s western Kutahya province, where the invading Greek army was decisively defeated.

By the end of 1922, all foreign forces had left the territories which would collectively become the new Republic of Turkey one year later.


* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev and Zehra Nur Duz

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