Turkish President and leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey will close its southern border with Syria and Iraq by building a security strip, right from Hatay to Hakkari, the cities on the south of Turkey’s border.
“We have already formed part of this strip with cross-border operations,” said Erdoğan. “We will build the rest step by step, starting from places like Tel Rıfat, Manbij (Minbîç) and Aynularab (Kobanê).”
Erdoğan added that Turkey will launch a ground operation into northern Syria “at the most convenient time” to achieve these aims.
“Our operations with planes, artillery and drones are just the beginning,” Erdoğan said yesterday in a group meeting with party members.
The intense air strikes by the Turkish state, on 19 November, came a week after the 13 November bombing in Istanbul, which killed six people and injured dozens.
Turkey stated that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) organised the Istanbul bombing, however, the accused Kurdish groups condemned the attack targeting civilians and declared that they had no connection with the bombing.
“It is not true that we have crossed the border or carried out attacks on their soil, like Turkey claims. None of their attacks will go unreciprocated, but all our retaliation will be on Syrian soil,” said Mazlum Abdi, the General Commander of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Following the attacks, US and Russia called on Turkey to show restraint in Syria, while the President of the European Parliament called on Erdoğan to halt attacks on Syria and Iraq.