No Syria plan without Turkish consent possible after Jarablus operation: Erdoğan
DHA photoTurkey’s “successful and rapid” cross-border operation into Syria “to clear the border of jihadists has changed the world’s view of the region,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated, claiming that no longer can any plan in Syria be implemented without Turkish consent.
“The fact that Turkey carried out its operation into Syria successfully and very rapidly has changed the world’s view of the region. It is no longer possible to implement any scenario in the region that does not include Turkey or does not have Turkey’s consent,” Erdoğan said in his address to 81 provincial governors on Sept 8, adding that the balances “have drastically changed” since Turkey liberated Jarablus from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Turkey launched its Euphrates Shield operation on Aug 24 with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to push ISIL from its borders and was able to clear jihadists from the Jarablus-Azaz line within the first two weeks of the incursion.
Erdoğan said Jarablus has been fully cleared of ISIL militants and Turkish troops will continue to pursue them in the surrounding area.
“We’ll continue. Until when? There is no need to reveal this, but we have our own plan for securing the Turkish borders,” he added.
Referring to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) efforts to link its cantons together, Erdoğan said Turkey cannot tolerate the establishment of a “terror corridor.”
“Instead, we’ll turn this border into a ‘peace corridor.’ We have no eye on taking any of Syria’s territory,” he added.
Responding to criticism from some quarters that the Euphrates Shield operation may have violated international law, Erdoğan referred to the “cruelty” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“They say: ‘You can’t enter there if the host country does not invite you.’ Sorry but we can enter there upon the invitation of the people who are the real owners of this country. The leader of that country is cruel. Are we going to seek permission from someone who has killed 600,000 people?” he said.
Erdoğan also criticized arguments that Turkey should not widen its fronts and fight against both ISIL and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at the same time.
“Expanding these fronts is a matter of faith,” he said, adding Turkey is currently conducting the “biggest operations in its history” against the PKK in southeast Anatolia.
“From now on we have to show that we exist in the region. We don’t have any option to step back at this point,” Erdoğan had said on Sept. 5 while returning from the G-20 Summit in China.