Turkish forces to stay in Afrin until security established: Erdoğan

Turkish forces to stay in Afrin until security established: Erdoğan

ISTANBUL
Turkish forces to stay in Afrin until security established: Erdoğan

Turkey will maintain its presence in the northern Syrian province of Afrin until it has been secured, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on May 4. 

“We will remain in Afrin and we will be there until we assure its security," Erdoğan said, speaking at the Istanbul Youth Festival.

“Idlib, Tal Rifaat and Manbij will be next,” he added, naming Syrian provinces. 

Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 to clear People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from Afrin. On March 18, Turkish-backed troops declared full control of Afrin town center, which had been controlled by the YPG since 2012.

Speaking about Operation Euphrates Shield, held from August 2016 to late March 2017, Erdoğan said Turkey had delayed its right to intervene. 

“It [Operation Euphrates Shield] was a delayed operation. We had to conduct it earlier. If we did it earlier, Kilis [southern province of Turkey] wouldn’t be hit so many times,” he said, referring to a previous incursion into the northern Aleppo governorate against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the YPG.. 

During Operation Olive Branch Turke’s southern Kilis province was reportedly targeted by the Kurdish militants. 

On March 19, 48 rocket attacks from across the border killed two civilians and injured 38 others, Kilis governor said.

‘Let’s give them citizenship’

Erdoğan said Syrian, Persian, Moroccan and Algerian nationals work in the historic Spice Bazaar in Istanbul which was reopened following restoration work on May 4. 

“We have marked an aim for ourselves and said: ‘If needed, let’s give them citizenship’. What happens when we don’t? They work illegally,” he added. 

He said many of these workers are educated and if they become Turkish citizens, they will be able to earn a living. 

The Spice Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, stocks load of spices, herbs, honeycomb and nuts. It has adorned the bosom of Istanbul's historic peninsula over the last five centuries -- with its exotic smell which greets first-time visitors. 

Erdoğan, Recep Tayyip ERdoğan, Afrin, Syria, YPG, Operation Olive Branch, elections, foreign policy, politics, Turkey