By Sorwar Alam
ANKARA (AA) - It is irrational to expect Turkey to overlook attempt to build a terror state on its border, deputy prime minister said as he reiterated the stance that ongoing operation in Afrin was not against Kurds.
Speaking at the Jerusalem Meeting in Istanbul Monday, Bekir Bozdag, who is also the Turkish government’s spokesman, said: “Our Kurdish brothers are not the target of Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria.”
He said Turkey had always supported Kurds in Iraq and Syria when they faced oppression.
Turkey would continue to support Kurds and other ethnic groups against oppression and cruelty, he added.
He said the goal of the Afrin operation is to eliminate the PYD/PKK terrorist group from the region as well as to ensure safety and security for the civilians, including Turkmen, Arabs, Kurds and other ethnic groups, living there.
He added the operation was being carried out with respect for the state of Syria, its territorial integrity, sovereignty and political unity, and would continue in this vein.
“Turkey will withdraw from the region after the operation reaches to success,” he said.
He highlighted that Afrin operation was not a “choice” but a necessity.
“It is irrational to expect Turkey to overlook the formation of a terror state on its border,” he said.
He said Operation Olive Branch in Afrin had been launched “after trying all diplomatic options”.
He also spoke about the U.S. plan to form an army of PYD/PKK terror group in Syria along the Turkish border.
“Forming a terrorist army is an open threat to Turkey and Syria.”
The deputy premier repeated Ankara’s call on the Washington administration to cut its support off the PYD/PKK terrorists.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
- Jerusalem ‘key to peace’
On the Jerusalem issue, Bozdag said despite Jerusalem being a sacred, important and historic city, “all of this injustice [has taken place], developments are being carried out in front of the United Nation.
“Jerusalem is the key to peace. The door of peace would be opened in Jerusalem.”
He noted that peace in the Middle East as well as the whole world would be impossible “without resolving the Palestinian cause”.
“Resolving the Palestinian cause would bring peace and solution of many problems in the region and the world. Jerusalem will eventually be the capital of the Palestinian people.
“Unless Palestine is liberated from the occupation, turned into a fully independent and powerful state, we cannot say that Palestine and Jerusalem issue is resolved. Turkey is sincere in this matter.”
The meeting on “Jerusalem: The City Blessed by Revelation”, organized by Turkish Religious Affairs, aims to draw attention to the importance of Jerusalem in the Islamic faith and to keep alive solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people as well as promote the cause of Al-Aqsa.