Allies warming to no-fly zone in Syria: Erdoğan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressing a meeting with business council chiefs from the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and ambassadors on Nov. 11, 2015. AA PhotoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the West is coming around to Turkey’s plan for a safe zone inside Syrian territory.
“More realistic steps need to be taken for a solution including our proposal in particular to establish a safe zone cleared of terror,” Erdoğan said addressing a meeting with business council chiefs from the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and ambassadors on Nov. 11.
Erdoğan called on world leaders to rally behind Turkey’s plan for a safe zone inside Syrian territory, days before it hosts the G-20 Summit. He proposed three-point measures in order to tackle refugee crisis.
“Let’s make the train equip [program]. Declare a terror free zone. Declare a no-fly zone and resolve this issue. Therefore, those from Syria will not travel to Europe or other places. We’ll place those [Syrian refugees] here in housing that will be set up in that region,” he stated.
He implied that the area would be cleared of both the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Syrian Kurdish fighters, whom Ankara accuses of being a Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is involved in heavy fighting with Turkish security forces in Turkey’s southeast.
Turkey has repeatedly pressed for a safe zone inside Syria stretching down from Azaz and Jarablus in the north, which could house some of the 2.2 million Syrian refugees currently hosted by Turkey and act as a buffer to protect Turkish territory.
The idea has met with only a lukewarm response from world powers but there have been indications from Ankara in the last few days that the West is coming closer to its point of view.
“We are constantly face to face with this crisis and having troubles everyday while many countries follow it over media and many foreign leaders try to find solutions to it just on paper,” Erdoğan said, elaborating on recent refugee crisis.
Ankara is holding talks with EU leaders to deal with the migrant crisis, which has seen hundreds of thousands of people land on Europe’s shores this year, most of them making risky sea crossings from Turkey.