Turkey’s anti-terror fight protects Europe, NATO states: EU Minister Çelik
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AA photoTurkey’s fight against terrorism in Syria as part of its ongoing Euphrates Shield operation protects the borders of Europe and NATO states, Turkey’s EU Minister Ömer Çelik said on Jan. 11.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Ankara following a meeting with Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, Çelik commented on the Euphrates Shield operation. “Turkey’s fight against terrorism is for the protection of the borders of the Turkish Republic as well as Europe and NATO,” he said.
He also pointed out to the lack of adequate support from Turkey’s allies in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria despite hard times they faced in the wake of a “heinous coup bid.”
The Turkey-led Euphrates Shield operation began in Syria in late August 2016 to improve security, support U.S.-led coalition forces against ISIL, and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border using Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets.
“If we are determined to share democratic values, nowadays, to advocate democracy is to stand by Turkey. Today, advocating democracy means backing Turkey in fighting against coup plotters and terror organizations,” Çelik said, referring to the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The minister underlined Turkey’s fight against terrorist organizations, including ISIL, the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating the failed coup attempt, and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with which it has been in armed clashes since the mid-1980s.
Soini said Finland was supporting Turkey’s EU membership bid, adding that continuing negotiations with Turkey was a process that would benefit both sides.
Çelik thanked the Finnish minister for his country’s solidarity with Turkey in the fight against terrorism.
Soini later met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım as part of his official visit.