UPDATE WITH ERDOGAN's REMARKS ON SYRIA
By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - The era of Turkey taking out loans from the IMF is long since gone, said the Turkish president on Tuesday.
"Turkey closed its IMF chapter in May 2013 and, God willing, it will not be reopened," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the parliamentary group of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party..
Erdogan slammed claims by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) that Turkey would seek to negotiate with the IMF after the local elections set for March 31.
"It is clear who has gone to the IMF. Those that have the CHP mentality, they have gone to the IMF," he said.
Some six years ago Turkey paid off the entirety of its debt to the international lending institution.
Erdogan also said the CHP shares in Turkish private lender Isbank would be transferred to the state Treasury.
"This parliament will take that decision [soon]," he added.
After the death in 1938 of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic, his 28.1 percent stake in Isbank was transferred to the CHP.
The CHP does not take any share of profits from Isbank, but has four seats on its administrative board.
-'Our wait over terrorists in Syria near its end'
Turning to terrorism and foreign policy, Erdogan stressed Turkey's determination to eliminate the terrorist nests in Syria, near Turkey’s borders, saying: "No threat, including sanctions lists, can deter us."
If the terrorists holed up in Manbij, Syria are not gone in a few weeks, “our waiting will come to its end,” Erdogan said, hinting at a long-promised third counter-terrorist operation in Syria.
"If the administrative facilities of the locals east of the Euphrates River [in Syria] are not provided with Turkey's support in a few months," this also will signal an end to Ankara’s patience, he said, referring to ending the terrorist yoke east of the river.
Turkey respects Syrians' right to determine their own future in the country, said Erdogan.
"For his reason, we sincerely support the process for establishing a new constitution and [holding] free elections," he added.
In recent days, Turkish officials said Turkey has completed all preparations for an operation east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, which Ankara said would help preserve territorial integrity in the war-torn country.
Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region -- including Al-Bab, Afrin and Azaz -- from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence there to return home.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- recognized as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG/PYD is the group's Syrian branch.