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Erdogan considering military operations in Iraq and Syria

“Wherever there is a terrorist, we’ll find and eliminate him,“ the Turkish leader said

Türkiye’s military is set to carry out operations to achieve full security along the country’s borders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

In January, Türkiye carried out a series of airstrikes and ground operations in northern Iraq and northern Syria, targeting members and facilities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara views as a terrorist organization. The escalation followed the death of nine Turkish troops in clashes with the PKK fighters.

The goal of the government in Ankara is to make sure that Türkiye is free from “the dark shadow of terrorism,” Erdogan said during a speech on Monday.

In order to achieve this, “we will completely guarantee the security of our Iraqi border by this summer and will definitely complete our unfinished business in Syria,” he stated.

”Wherever there is a terrorist, we’ll find and eliminate him,” the Turkish leader said, adding that the country “will absolutely not allow these hired killer gangs, who are now gasping for breath, cornered, and on the verge of extinction, to revive and become a burden on our nation again.”

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Security measures are taken at the site after attempted attack at Istanbul Caglayan courthouse in Istanbul, Turkiye on February 6, 2024.
One dead and five wounded in Istanbul ‘terrorist attack’ (VIDEO)

Earlier this month, Hürriyet newspaper reported that the Turkish military was going to conduct a large-scale ground offensive in northern Iraq against the PKK. The government in Baghdad has consented to the military operation on its territory, according to the outlet.

High-ranking officials from the two countries held a security summit in Baghdad last week, saying in a joint statement that “the PKK poses a security threat to Türkiye and Iraq and… that the presence of the said organization on Iraqi territory violates the Iraqi constitution.”

Turkish forces have been deployed in northern Syria since 2016 amid a conflict in the country with the declared goal of fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and other terrorist groups.

The authorities in Damascus condemned the incursion, which was carried out by Ankara without their consent, as an “aggression” against the Syrian state and “a blatant violation” of the country’s sovereignty.

READ MORE: Türkiye arrests hundreds for alleged ISIS links

Erdogan, who has joined Western calls for regime change in Damascus throughout the conflict, said last summer that he was open to a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad with a view to mending relations. However, he said the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syria’s Idlib province shouldn’t be a precondition for the talks.

March 19, 2024 at 02:04PM

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