President Erdoğan still pursuing no-fly zone in northern Syria
A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing lands at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, November 12, 2015. REUTERS PhotoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has again voiced his desire to create a no-fly zone and establish a train-and-equip program for Syrian rebels while floating the idea of building settlements for Syrian refugees in line with their “national architectural style.”
“A no-fly zone, terror-free zone and train-and-equip [program] – steps are needed on these issues. Now our relevant departments are carrying out work. Timing is another issue, but the process is under control. This step will be taken, some areas have especially been earmarked,” Erdoğan said in an interview aired on ATV and A Haber channels late on Nov. 18.
New housing that is in harmony with local architecture should be built in the area where Syrian refugees are located, the president said.
A no-fly zone will protect them, while Syrian opposition forces will have the power to conduct a ground operation in the prospective area, he said.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses a threat to Turkey, Erdoğan also said in reply to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who suggested an operation with Turkey against the jihadist group.
“We’ll take a step with coalition forces,” he said.
Turkey has long pushed for a safe zone to protect civilians from Syrian airstrikes, but the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has repeatedly rejected the idea as too difficult to implement.