AA, ANKARA: The Turkish president on Monday hinted at a possible new cross-border operation to clear the PKK terrorist organization from its border with Syria.
“We will continue our fight against terrorism. Our decision to establish a 30-kilometre-deep secure line along our southern border is permanent,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during his address to Turkish diplomats who attended the 13th Ambassadors Conference in the capital Ankara.
“I hope we will join the parts of this security zone together soon by clearing the last areas where the terrorist organization is nesting in Syria,” he added.
Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is PKK’s Syrian offshoot.
‘Al-Aqsa Mosque red line for Türkiye’
On recent Israeli attacks on Gaza, which resulted in the death of many civilians, including children, Erdogan said: “There can be no excuse for killing children, babies in swaddling clothes. Türkiye stands by the Palestinian people and its Gazan brothers.”
An Egypt-brokered cease-fire in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad was announced on Sunday, putting an end to three days of Israeli airstrikes and retaliatory rocket fire from Gaza.
At least 43 Palestinians have been killed and over 300 others injured in the Israeli offensive, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Erdogan said Al-Aqsa Mosque is a “red line” for Türkiye.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also called on Israel not to allow acts targeting the status and sanctity of Haram al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Türkiye calls for dialogue between Russia, Ukraine
Türkiye, since beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, has argued “there will be no winner,” President Erdogan said, adding: “In meetings with both [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, we underlined that problems should be resolved through dialogue.”
Erdogan said despite all the negativities, Türkiye continued efforts and ensured the implementation of the grain corridor agreement.
On July 22, Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal in Istanbul to reopen three Ukrainian Black Sea ports – Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Yuzhny – for the export of Ukrainian grain stuck due to the war, which is now in its sixth month.
“Ships are sailing as you know right now. Thus, we contributed to world supply security at a time when the food crisis was looming. So far, we have managed to operate this agreement without encountering any serious problems,” the president said.
Since the first departure on Aug. 1, 10 ships carrying over 304,000 tons of grain have so far left Ukrainian ports under the deal.