Thursday, May 12, 2016
Turkey Threatens to Launch 'Unilateral' Operations on Syrian Soil
© AFP 2016/ MEHDI FEDOUACH
Inching closer to a military invasion of Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to launch "operations" to "clean the other side of the border."
Throughout 2016 there have been growing signs of Ankara’s intention to deploy ground forces in Syria. In February, the Russian government reported "a growing number of signs of hidden preparation of the Turkish armed forces for active actions on the territory of Syria."
At the time, Ankara rejected these claims, even as it launched military actions against Kurds in southeastern Turkey and sent troops into northern Iraq, over the objections of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
On Thursday, President Erdogan gave further indication that his government is actively considering the deployment of troops into Syria.
"[Turkey] is doing all the necessary preparations to clean the other side of the border…" he said, adding that such an operation would be justified in order to defend Kilis Province from mortar fire.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
© AP Photo/ Vadim Ghirda
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Erdogan added that he was disappointed with the lack of support from other nations involved in the five-year Syrian civil war.
"We do not believe the sincerity of any country that has not seen rockets falling on our town as if they fell on Moscow, London, Brussels, Paris or Berlin," he said.
"Let me say it here. We will not hesitate to take needed steps on our own if necessary."
The president’s comments come as no surprise as, in February, he indicated that Syria’s sovereignty was less important than Turkey’s own.
"This has absolutely nothing to do with sovereign rights of states that cannot maintain their territorial integrity. On the contrary, this is about protecting Turkey’s sovereign rights," Erdogan said during a UNESCO Creative Cities Network event in Istanbul.
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