Akar: Türkiye doesn't need permission to use right to self-defense - M5 Dergi
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Akar: Türkiye doesn’t need permission to use right to self-defense

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Türkiye will not seek permission from anyone to exercise its right to self-defense against the PKK terrorist group and its Syrian branch, the YPG, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar affirmed.

Akar answered questions in an interview with Italy’s Il Messaggero newspaper. Commenting on Türkiye’s possible ground operation against terrorist targets in northern Syria, he said: “The terrorist group PKK/YPG targets Türkiye’s peace and security. For protecting our country and borders, we use our right of self-defense arising from Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. In doing so, we do not need permission from anyone.”

Akar maintained that Türkiye expects its friends and allies to cut all ties with the terrorist group and demonstrate sincere solidarity and cooperation with Ankara in the fight against the scourge that is terrorism.

“Recognized as a terrorist organization by the European Union, NATO and the United States, the PKK operates under different names in order to mislead the international community. The PKK and its Syrian extension, the YPG, are the same organization. Unfortunately, in the latest attacks carried out by the PKK/YPG at four different points in Türkiye, 14 civilians, including children, lost their lives and 94 people were injured,” he shared.

Recently, Türkiye launched Operation Claw-Sword, a cross-border aerial campaign against the PKK terrorist group and its Syrian wing, the YPG, which have illegal hideouts across the Iraqi and Syrian borders where they plan attacks on Turkish soil.

The country’s air operation followed a PKK/YPG terrorist attack on Nov. 13 on Istanbul’s crowded Istiklal Street that killed six people and left 81 injured. The Turkish Defense Ministry said the operation was carried out in line with the right of self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

After the air operation was launched, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also signaled a ground operation in northern Iraq and northern Syria to eliminate the terrorist threat, adding: “This is not limited to just an air operation.”

The president specified northern Syria’s YPG-controlled Tal Rifaat, Manbij and Ain al-Arab (also known as Kobani) regions as possible targets to clear of terrorists.

The Turkish leader has threatened a new military operation into northern Syria since May and upped those threats in the wake of this month’s attack. Erdoğan has repeatedly called for a 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) safe zone to protect Türkiye against cross-border attacks from Syrian territory.

“We know the identity, location and track record of the terrorists. We also know very well who patronizes, arms and encourages terrorists,” Erdoğan also recently said, referring to the U.S. support for the YPG.

The PKK is a designated terrorist organization in the U.S., Türkiye and the European Union, and Washington’s support for its Syrian affiliate has been a major strain on bilateral relations with Ankara. The PKK/YPG has controlled much of northeastern Syria after the forces of Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad withdrew in 2012. The U.S. primarily partnered with PKK/YPG terrorists in northeastern Syria in its fight against the Daesh terrorist group. On the other hand, Türkiye strongly opposed the PKK/YPG’s presence in northern Syria.

Under the pretext of fighting Daesh, the U.S. has provided military training and given truckloads of military support to the PKK/YPG, despite its NATO ally’s security concerns. Underlining that one cannot support one terrorist group to defeat another, Türkiye has conducted its counterterrorism operations throughout, removing a significant number of terrorists from the region.

Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful ground operations against terrorist groups 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).

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