Europe should be grateful to Turkish military: Presidential spokesperson
European countries should be grateful for the Turkish army carrying out its “dangerous but important” anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria, the country's presidential spokesman said on Oct. 21.
İbrahim Kalın told German public broadcaster DW that the presence of Turkey's soldiers is a guarantee for moving the political process forward in the country as well as for protecting Syrian refugees.
"Our European friends should be thankful to our soldiers for this very dangerous but important work," he added.
"If this part [withdrawal] of the mission is completed by tomorrow and we make sure that all YPG terrorists left the area, then we will halt the operation … as agreed in the joint declaration and agreement that we have had with the Americans.”
'Turkey sticking to agreement'
Kalın said that although Turkey is sticking to the agreement, there have been 20 violations of the pause by the YPG/PKK using snipers and rockets to attack Turkey's soldiers, and one soldier was martyred.
"We had two main goals with this operation: one was to clear this area of the terrorists, the second one is to enable the refugees to go back to their homes, so we want to create conditions suitable for them," he explained.
He added that once the YPG/PKK terrorists completely withdraw from the region and Turkey makes sure the area is safe for civilians, there will be no further military action.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.
On Oct. 17, Turkey agreed to pause the operation for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the planned safe zone.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG/PKK.
Turkey deems the YPG the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization also by the United States and the EU.