By Talha Ozturk, Lejla Biogradlija
BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) - Turkey's Syria operation is an operation against the terrorist organization and it is a campaign to bring peace and tranquility to the region, said Turkish trade minister on Thursday.
Ruhsar Pekcan participated in the 23rd International Business Forum organized by the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD) at Bosnia and Herzegovina's capital Sarajevo.
"As of yesterday [during Turkey's ongoing operation in northern Syria], 980 rockets and mortar shells were fired to our [southern and southeastern] borders, killing 20 civilians" Pekcan said, and added: "Turkey has been hosting 4 million Syrians for about 8 years. Who has done this in Europe?"
The facts of the operation should be reflected as they are, she stressed.
"Turkey's Syria operation continues better than planned and the first objectives are achieved in a very short time," Numan Kurtulmus, the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's deputy chairman, said at the forum.
Turkey has four main objectives, he added.
"First, Turkey has a 911-kilometer [566-mile] border with Syria. To the east of the Euphrates, we have a border of 444 kilometers [276 miles]. Clearing the place of the entire terrorist organization, we don't want a single terrorist stationed there," he said.
"They [YPG/PKK terrorist organizations] want to create a corridor of terror here with the support of the imperialist forces, and our second aim is to prevent this terror corridor," Kurtulmuş noted.
Third aim is ensuring Syria's territorial integrity while clearing the region of terrorism, he said, and added: "Since the occupation of Iraq, the imperialist forces in this geography have been trying to divide and disintegrate it [Iraq] and change the political borders [of the region]".
"The fourth is to establish a safe zone at a depth of 30 kilometers in that geography and to place around 2 million Syrians in their homes," said Kurtulmus.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.