By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - A prominent Turkish lawmaker sent a letter on Tuesday to the members of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Parliamentary Assembly on Turkey's ongoing counter-terrorism operation in northern Syria.
"The main objective of this operation [Operation Peace Spring] is to ensure the border security of Turkey, to neutralize terrorists in the region and to rescue the Syrian people of the pressure and persecution of the terrorists," said Cemal Ozturk, the head of BSEC's Turkish delegation, in the letter.
Ozturk noted that Turkey makes a great effort not to hurt civilians.
From the beginning, Turkey has been supporting the territorial integrity of Syria, and the Syrian territories belong to Syrians, he said.
"Turkey does not have any aim to change the demographic structure of the operation area. On the contrary, this counter-terrorism operation will pave the way for the safe return of Syrians," he stressed.
Ozturk also sent the letter to his counterparts in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Serbia.
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 PYD/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.