Akar urges Russia, US to keep promises regarding terrorist removal
Russia and the United States have given assurances about the removal of terrorists in Syria, and Türkiye expects them to fulfill their promises, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Aug. 9, noting that if they had met these promises before, the return of migrants back to Syria would have been much easier.
Türkiye is dealing with 9 million Syrians, including the migrants in Turkish territory, he said, speaking at the 13th Ambassadors’ Conference.
“We try to make their life easier. The more we can normalize the living conditions in northern Syria, the easier it will be to prevent them from coming from there, and then we will make it a center of attraction and enable our Syrian brothers in Türkiye to return to their homes and lands,” he said.
Türkiye is determined to finish the “terror and neutralize the last terrorist,” and the military operations in this bid target only the terrorists, the minister emphasized.
“Kurds are our brothers, Arabs are our brothers. We want everyone to know that we have no dealings with any ethnic or religious group. But unfortunately, there are those inside and outside who deliberately abuse it in the media, politics and diplomacy,” Akar stated.
All military operations of Türkiye respect innocent people, historical, religious and cultural structures and the environment of these areas, he noted.
In the framework of Operation Euphrates Shield, Türkiye neutralized around 4,500 terrorists, including the ISIL, Akar said, adding, “The Turkish Armed Forces is the only army that fights against terrorists, especially this DAESH coming to close quarters.”
The minister announced that a delegation from Türkiye will travel to Washington on Aug. 15 to discuss the sale of the F-16 and the issue of F-35 fighter jets.
He underlined that Ankara cannot accept the prerequisites imposed by some members of the U.S. Congress for the sale of F-16 aircraft to Türkiye.
Emphasizing that the F-16 and F-35 issues are “different from each other,” Akar said that the Turkish delegation will discuss the two issues with two different delegations in the United States.
Akar reiterated Türkiye’s criticism toward the U.S. regarding its support to the YPG and said, “A terrorist organization cannot be defeated by another terrorist organization. So if you have a problem, let’s cooperate. But until now, unfortunately, we have not received a positive answer on this issue.”
Citing the bilateral ties with Greece, Akar said Ankara maintains perspective for dialogue and negotiation despite Greece’s moves against Türkiye.
Enmity towards Türkiye is gaining ground in Greece, Akar said, adding, “They speak against Türkiye to cover their weaknesses.”
Elaborating on the grain export deal brokered by Ukraine, Russia Türkiye and the U.N., Akar said Ankara expects the agreement to continue to be implemented without interruptions.
The current agreement is on exporting grain from Ukrainian ports, but talks are ongoing for Russian ports as well,” he said.