President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Türkiye is committed to protect its security and borders in the face of terrorist attacks by the PKK, as he said Ankara won’t seek permission to respond to the terrorists.
Speaking to reporters following a three hour-long meeting in the capital Ankara, the president said Türkiye is committed to destroy the PKK terrorist group until the last terrorist is eliminated.
He continued by saying that the country’s plans to erect a 30 kilometer-long (18.6-miles) security zone along our southern border, in the face of threats from the PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG.
“No one should be disturbed by Türkiye’s military operations aimed at expanding the circle of security, peace,” he said.
Türkiye is ready to rid northern Syria’s Tal Rifaat and Manbij areas, near the Turkish border, of terrorist elements in a bid to eliminate the terror threat from the region, President Erdoğan said earlier this year.
Erdoğan has said as the U.S. and Russia failed to live up to their commitments to provide such a safe zone in the border region. In October 2019, Russia expressed commitment to removing the terrorist group from Tal Rifaat and Manbij after reaching an agreement with Türkiye during Operation Peace Spring. Moscow also promised that the terrorists would be removed 30 kilometers from the border on the M4 road and in the area outside the Operation Peace Spring area. Likewise, then-U.S. Vice President Mike Pence pledged to Türkiye that the YPG/PKK terrorist group would withdraw from the region of Operation Peace Spring.
Ankara has launched several cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 and controls some territories in the north with the goal of pushing away the YPG/PKK and establishing a 30-kilometer-deep safe zone. Since 2016, Türkiye has launched a trio of successful counterterrorism 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).
Also, the PKK terrorist group often hides out in northern Iraq, just across Türkiye’s southern border, to plot terrorist attacks in the country. The Turkish military regularly conducts cross-border operations in northern Iraq. Türkiye has long been stressing that it will not tolerate terrorist threats posed against its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorist group. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps were not taken, it would not shy away from targeting terrorist threats.