Whole of Europe has almost surrendered to terror organizations: PM Yıldırım
Vahap Munyar - BAKÜ
“The European Parliament’s record on this [terror] subject is not very good. Its decision is not binding anyway. We know the impetus for such decisions. It is a shame that the whole European continent has almost surrendered to the separatist terrorist organization,” Yıldırım told reporters travelling with him on an official visit to Baku on March 15.
“Is anything like this possible? Mosques have been sabotaged, airports have been attacked, houses have been marked. We are tired of saying it ‘don’t spoil [terrorists]. Don’t tolerate them. Tomorrow they will cause trouble for you.’ What we have been saying is becoming true,” he said.
Yıldırım’s comments came after the European Parliament passed a resolution on March 15 criticizing Turkey for its ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” into Afrin and calling on it to be brought to an end.
“The European Parliament does such disruptive things. Are they the ones who are struggling against terror? They should acknowledge that while they were sitting in their comfortable chairs, Turkey has been preventing terror from spreading in Turkey as well as in Europe. In a sense, Turkey is protecting Europe from terror. So before giving such decisions they should have prayed for Turkey every day,” he said.
Yıldırım also noted that the parliamentary resolution described People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants as “Kurdish forces.”
“Since when have the YPG and the [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK, these bloody organizations, become ‘Kurdish forces’? Is there such a country that they can talk about ‘Kurdish forces’? These are ignorant decisions that were given by people who don’t know about the problems of the region,” he said.
Echoing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s words on the Afrin operation, Yıldırım vowed that the incursion will continue.
“The Free Syrian Army and our armed forces, gendarmeries and police are working meticulously. We are talking about armed terrorist organization [YPG] that has infiltrated into civilians. It is not easy to neutralize terrorists without harming civilians,” he said.
He also stressed that Turkish forces will leave Afrin “when the job is done” as Turkey has “no intention of staying within Syrian territories,” recalling that more than 135,000 Syrian families have so far been able to return to areas Turkey cleared of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) through the Euphrates Shield Operation.
‘Turkey’s stance on Manbij is clear’
On Ankara’s ongoing talks with the United States over Manbij, Yıldırım recalled that his government’s stance on the issue is clear, regardless of the fact that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was recently removed from office.
“Our stance on Manbij is the same as our stance on Afrin. We do not want the presence of terror organizations south of our borders,” he said.
More than 90 percent of local people are Arab in Manbij but the U.S. says it needs to keep the YPG elements there in order to provide security of the area, Yıldırım added.
“We want this problem to be solved in agreement with both Russia and the U.S. But it will be solved in any case. There are promises that the U.S. has given to Turkey. During the previous administration, it was said: ‘We will move the [YPG] from there.’ We want that to be realized,” he said.
Commenting on the appointment of Mike Pompeo as new U.S. secretary of state, Yıldırım said “continuity in the state is essential. It would not be proper to say ‘the previous ones said that, it is not my concern now.”
“We are watching and seeing. Whether someone has come or gone makes no difference for us. Principles are what is essential for us. Turkey does not intend to continue its existence under threat of terror,” he added.