Turkey continues to fight ISIL at home, abroad: Altun
"Turkey’s operation to root out terror groups from its Syrian border can’t be linked to the potential strengthening of Daesh,” Fahrettin Altun said in a tweet, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.
Altun was referring to Turkey’s operation against groups such as the YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization.
“Such a misguided argument ignores Turkey’s legitimate national security interests," he added.
Altun stressed that Turkey's goal is to create safe zones free of terror, regardless of its origin.
“We will continue to do so even if we do not receive proper recognition of our efforts,” he said.
He said those who continue to ignore Turkey's legitimate security concerns have no right to criticize its operations.
"They should reconsider their own support for terror groups. It is not befitting of a NATO ally to call a terror group ‘best partners’ against Daesh," Altun added, referring to the U.S. partnership with the YPG.
Since 2016, Turkey has conducted three successful operations in northern Syria against the terrorist YPG/PKK and Daesh/ISIS: Operation Euphrates Shield (2016-17), Operation Olive Branch (2018) and Operation Peace Spring.
Operation Peace Spring, launched on Oct. 9, aims to eliminate terrorist YPG/PKK elements from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara and Washington reached a deal on Oct. 17 to pause Operation Peace Spring for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the planned safe zone.
On Oct. 22, Turkey also reached an agreement with Russia to allow the YPG/PKK terror group to withdraw from the safe zone.
Turkey wants to repatriate some two million Syrian refugees it is currently hosting to the zone after clearing it of terrorists.