‘Turkey to increase safe zones in Syria,’ says Erdoğan

‘Turkey to increase safe zones in Syria,’ says Erdoğan

ANKARA / NEW YORK – Anadolu Agency
‘Turkey to increase safe zones in Syria,’ says Erdoğan

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 23 that Turkey would continue to increase the number of safe zones within Syria to include the east of the Euphrates River.

In his address to Turkish and Muslim communities in New York, organized by the Turkish American National Steering Committee, Erdoğan said Turkey’s struggle would continue until the terror threat against it ends and would eradicate terror gangs that aim at Syria’s future.

In a speech later at the TURKEN foundation, Erdoğan said the Turkish military cleared a 4,000 square kilometer area from ISIL and the YPG as part of the Shield Operation and Olive Branch operations in Syria.

“We will take similar steps east of the Euphrates,” said Erdoğan, stating that Ankara has turned the areas into safe zones for the Syrian people.

Turning to Jerusalem, Erdoğan vowed to safeguard the city against invaders.

“We will not abandon Jerusalem, our first Qibla [Islamic direction of prayer] to invaders and those who perform state terror on Palestinians,” he said.

Turkey will continue its struggle against the United States and the Israeli governments’ breaches of the holy city at the “highest-level” in diplomacy, he said.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping East Jerusalem, now occupied by Israel, might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

The Turkish president also criticized the United Nations Security Council for serving the interests of “certain powers” rather than working to ensure global peace and stability.

'Moderate opposition should be part of solution'

Meanwhile, Erdoğan spoke to the Russian newspaper Kommersant on developments in Syria.

The moderate Syrian opposition should be part of the political solution in Idlib, he said on Sept. 23.

Erdoğan said Turkey prioritized civilians, the preservation of deescalation zones and protecting moderate opposition groups since the beginning of the Idlib issue.

"There may be different approaches of different countries about moderate opposition,” according to Erdoğan.

“But we are thinking that the moderate opposition should remain in the political process.”

The opposition's involvement was needed to carry out the agenda in the Geneva and Astana talks in a healthy way, he said, referring to previous agreements in Syria by the UN, and Turkey, Russia and Iran, respectively.

Turkey opposed any attempt that aims to undermine moderate opposition by presuming them to be "terrorists," Erdoğan stated.

The Turkish leader said Turkey has worked for years to maintain peace in Syria and help millions of civilians return to their homes despite propaganda and smear tactics by the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Erdoğan hailed an agreement between Ankara and Moscow in Sochi to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib.

He said opposition forces will stay in their areas and radical groups determined by both countries will not be allowed to operate in the region.

'No concession to terror groups' 

In the article, Erdoğan expressed that Turkey would not allow the presence of terror groups on its border with Syria saying, “Turkey has proven its resolution many times before in Afrin, Jarablus, al Bab and Idlib.

“Turkey will never make concessions to terror organizations,” he said, adding that this policy would not change.
Erdoğan stated Turkey has always resolutely prioritized the fight against all terror groups, particularly Daesh.

“Sweeping clear areas under the control of the PYD and YPG of terrorists is particularly important,” Erdoğan said, and added support by the U.S. for these groups “must desist”, as such steps “harm regional balances and peace among the region's peoples.”

“We expect Russia to support Turkey in its efforts against terror groups, particularly the PKK, PYD and YPG,” he said.

Erdoğan went on to say countries sharing the same region must have a common understanding about each other’s security.

Turkish-Russian ties

Praising relations between Ankara and Moscow, Erdoğan said Turkey has been taking steps to improve humanitarian and cultural ties as well as joint energy projects and mutual investments.

“I believe Turkish and Russian people ? should be in a deep, sincere and close relationship. I want to emphasize that we will always support efforts to this end," he added.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan also said Sept. 23 that Turkey would continue to increase the number of safe zones within Syria to include the east of the Euphrates River.

In his address to Turkish and Muslim communities in New York, organized by Turkish American National Steering Committee, Erdoğan said Turkey's struggle will continue until the terror threat against it ends and it would eradicate terror gangs that aim at Syria's future.

Turning to Jerusalem, Erdoğan vowed to safeguard the city against invaders.

'Highest-level' diplomacy with Israel

"We will not abandon Jerusalem, our first Qıblah [Islamic direction of prayer] to invaders and those who perform state terror on Palestinians," he said.

Turkey will continue its struggle against the U.S. and Israeli governments' breaches of the holy city at the "highest-level" in diplomacy, he said.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping East Jerusalem, now occupied by Israel, might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

The Turkish president also criticized the UN Security Council for serving the interests of “certain powers” rather than working to ensure global peace and stability.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Syrian War, Russia