Türkiye protects borders under UN self-defense article, says defense minister

Ankara expects allies to cut all ties with terrorist organizations, show solidarity with Türkiye in fighting terrorism, Hulusi Akar says

Sarp Ozer and Baris Seckin  | 20.12.2022 - Update : 21.12.2022
Türkiye protects borders under UN self-defense article, says defense minister


Türkiye carries out cross-border operations against terrorists with the right to self-defense under the relevant UN article, the nation’s defense minister said.

"The terrorist organization YPG/PKK targets Türkiye's peace and security. For the protection of our country and borders, we use our right to self-defense arising from Article 51 of the UN Charter. In doing so, it is out of the question to get permission from anyone," Hulusi Akar told the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero.

Türkiye expects the allies cut all ties with the terrorist organizations and show sincere solidarity and cooperation with Ankara in its fight against terrorism, he said.

"Recognized as a terrorist organization by the EU, NATO, and the US, the PKK operates under different names to mislead the international community. The key point is that the PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG, are one and the same organization," stressed the defense chief.

Türkiye has long criticized the US support for the terrorist PKK and its offshoot in Syria, known as the YPG. While Washington claims it fights Daesh/ISIS terrorists with the help of its YPG/PKK allies, Ankara says using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

Akar said Türkiye is the only country fighting Daesh/ISIS in the field. Türkiye also became one of the first countries to declare Daesh/ISIS a terrorist organization in 2013.

"We deported 9,500 foreign terrorists from Türkiye and prevented more than 100,000 from entering our country," he said.

'Active diplomacy' on Russia-Ukraine war

Turning to the ongoing Russia- Ukraine war, Akar said Türkiye has been conducting "active diplomacy" since the start of the war in February.

"In particular, we focused on an urgent, at least humanitarian, cease-fire and a diplomatic solution ... Our aim is to continue the Istanbul process, where the two sides came together for the first time after the start of the conflict," he added.

Türkiye fully supports Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political unity, the minister reiterated.

This July, Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were paused after the war. A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.

Türkiye, internationally praised for its unique mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly called on Kyiv and Moscow to end the war through negotiations.

Türkiye-Italy defense cooperation

About Türkiye's recent rise in the defense industry, Akar said: "Undoubtedly, having advanced national defense capabilities also increases NATO's strength. It is clear that the stronger our forces as allies are, the stronger NATO will be collective."

That is why, he said, Türkiye attaches great importance to cooperation in defense technology and product development with its allies, including Italy.

"However, unfortunately, we are faced with unfair restrictions imposed by some of our allies on defense industry cooperation, which negatively affects not only Türkiye but also the alliance. We expect all these restrictions to be lifted," he added.

Regarding the relations with Italy, Akar said the bilateral cooperation are developing day by day in almost every field such as defense, trade, education, and health.

"We definitely want to accelerate the SAMP-T air defense system project. In addition, field-tested Turkish defense industry products offer new opportunities for bilateral cooperation," he added.

*Writing by Diyar Guldogan

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