UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS OF KALIN
By Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey will not give up on its rightful cause despite sanction threats or condemnations on its ongoing anti-terror operation in northern Syria, the country's presidential spokesman said on Wednesday.
"Neither sanction threats nor condemnations can deter us from our rightful cause," Ibrahim Kalin told reporters at the presidential complex in Ankara.
Kalin stressed that Turkey would give a stronger response.
On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to eliminate terrorist elements of the PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG, from the region.
The U.S. announced sanctions Monday on two Turkish ministries and three senior government officials over Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Syria.
But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey will remain undeterred despite the sanctions.
Kalin stressed that Turkey's ongoing operation will continue without slowing down until it reaches its aims.
"It is time to put an end to the domination of YPG/PKK [terrorists] in Syria with regards to its territorial integrity, political unity and social balance," he added.
Kalin reiterated that Turkey is not eyeing Syria’s territory.
We are absolutely determined to clear east of Euphrates from terrorists as we did in Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations, he added.
Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence to return home.
"Neither Turkey nor Operation Peace Spring harmed the demographic structure there [in northern Syria]. YPG/PKK itself harmed the demographic structure," he added.
Referring to the latest developments in Syria’s Manbij, he said replacing the American flag with the Russian and YPG/PKK being under the control of another force is "unacceptable".
Amid Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Syria, the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition on Tuesday announced its withdrawal from Manbij, Syria, an area targeted by Turkey for clearing YPG/PKK terrorists.
- Daesh detainees
More than 3,000 Daesh terrorists were neutralized and thousands were arrested and deported within the scope of Operation Peace Spring, Kalin stressed.
Highlighting that YPG/PKK uses Daesh detainees as a blackmail against the West, he said the releasing of detainees from prison is a concrete example.
On Sunday, thousands of Daesh terrorists, their families and other civilians -- who were held in the region – fled from the camp area when the YPG/PKK set a camp on fire in the Ayn Isa district in northern Syria.
Kalin also added that it is not acceptable to burden Turkey with the responsibility of Daesh detainees in northern Syria.
It is Turkey’s natural right to ask to those who criticize Turkey for its Operation Peace Spring, the question of who released the Daesh elements and why were they released, he added.
The U.S. forces had been allied with the terrorist YPG/PKK to defeat Daesh, an alliance Turkey has long criticized as both immoral and irrational.
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 the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.