By Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey will continue its fight against terrorism without any letup, the country's vice president said on Friday.
"Our fight against terrorism at home and abroad will continue uninterruptedly against all terror groups, especially FETO (Fetullah Terrorist Organization), PKK/PYD-YPG and Daesh/ISIS," Fuat Oktay told the lawmakers in parliament.
Turkey has long pressed the US for the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the FETO ringleader and the organizer of the July 15, 2016 defeated coup, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
Oktay reiterated that Turkey will fight against the YPG/PKK "until the last terrorist is neutralized."
"We are determined to save our 84 million citizens from scourge of terrorism," he said.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
The YPG – since 2015 often "rebranded" SDF – is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
Oktay also recalled that Turkey appointed Thursday a special envoy to discuss steps for normalization of ties with Armenia.
"Turkey is sincere in its desire for normalization not only in Turkish-Armenian relations but also for the entire region," he said.
He said that normalization process with Armenia will be carried out in close coordination with Azerbaijan, "depending on the steps to be taken by Armenia."
"Inclusive cooperation for the establishment of sustainable peace, tranquility and prosperity in the Caucasus will continue to be our sincere desire," Oktay added.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, and during the six-week war, Azerbaijan retook several cities and 300 settlements and villages.
The conflict ended in November 2020 in a Russia-brokered deal that saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had occupied for decades.
In January, the leaders of the three countries agreed to develop economic ties and infrastructure for the benefit of the entire Caucasus region.