By Mumin Altas
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish defense industry held an executive committee meeting on Wednesday evening, which was presided over by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the first time at the presidential complex.
The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli and other senior officials.
After the meeting -- which was closed to the media and lasted for about seven hours -- Turkish Presidency issued a written statement.
"In the meeting, a total of 55 projects worth $9.4 billion were evaluated," the statement said, adding the committee decided to add "further indigenous and national systems" to help the military in the ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin.
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost care" is being taken to not harm any civilians. Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.