Turkey may take unilateral action against ISIL in Syria
ANKARAPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sent a strong signal regarding his country’s readiness to take unilateral action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) following a series of attacks by the group on the border province of Kilis.
“While our citizens are being martyred every day by rockets fired from the other side, what will we wait for from the allies,” Erdoğan said at an event called “Domestic and National Will in Turkish Political History.” “If so, we will pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.”
“We are doing all the necessary preparations to clean the other side of the border because of the troubles being experienced in Kilis, but we haven’t yet been able to receive the support that we desire from allies,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan again accused the international coalition battling ISIL in Syria of abandoning his country to fight the jihadists on its own soil in the face of regular attacks on Kilis by ISIL.
Around two dozen people have been killed in the southeastern province of Kilis by rocket fire from ISIL since January, prompting the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to respond with artillery fire.
Turkey, a member of the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIL, also allows U.S. jets to use its air base in southern Turkey for air strikes on the extremists.
“The Kilis issue will serve as a litmus paper which will manifest the anti-DAESH [ISIL] coalition’s sincerity,” he added.
“We do not believe the sincerity of any country that has not seen rockets falling on our town as if they fell on Moscow, London, Brussels, Washington, Paris or Berlin,” he said.
Turkish daily Yeni Şafak reported that a 20-strong Turkish military team crossed into Syria over the weekend on a reconnaissance mission to seek out ISIL launchers to target in artillery strikes, but this has not been officially confirmed.
In its May 10 edition, The Wall Street Journal also reported that Turkey’s special military force carried out an unusual weekend operation against ISIL fighters in Syria as part of a deepening campaign against the extremist group. Citing American officials, who spoke anonymously, the U.S. daily said the weekend operation was part of an expanding effort by the TSK to push ISIL away from a vital 60-mile stretch of the Turkey-Syria border that serves as the group’s main lifeline.
The president also said Turkey had the right to not care about those who disregarded Kilis and the Syrian city of Aleppo.
“We also have the right to not care [about] those who disregard Kilis [and] Aleppo. It is not possible for us to agree either with the allies or the non-moral structure in the face of the current discourse and manners of especially European Union organizations and some countries in Turkey’s fight against terrorism,” Erdoğan said, calling their stance hypocritical.
“Those who stirred up the world when DAESH [ISIL] conducted attacks against them left Turkey alone in its fight against the same organization,” Erdoğan said.