Turkey will not leave Syria until it defeats all terrorist groups there, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said late Wednesday following the NATO leaders’ summit in London.
Speaking at a meet-up with Turkish citizens in London, President Erdoğan also voiced criticism regarding foreign officials’ and countries’ stances on Turkey’s anti-terror operations.
“Turkey is independent in its foreign policy and it does not seek permission from others (to launch) operations (it deems necessary) for its own security,” Erdoğan said.
“Those who thought they could discipline Turkey with terrorism and blackmail are now feeling the embarrassment of failing to achieve their goal,” he added.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders and aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees.
Erdoğan also reiterated that for Turkey, Syria’s territorial integrity was of utmost priority, saying: “We don’t have our eyes on Syrian land, but those that do should leave.”
Erdoğan also touched upon the rise of the far-right in the world. He said Neo-Nazi organizations were as dangerous to the peace and future of humanity as Daesh or the PKK.
“The determination displayed against terror groups like Daesh and al-Qaida must be shown against these structures too,” he said.
Saying that all terrorist groups are the same, whether it be a Neo-Nazi group, Daesh or the PKK, Erdoğan said that same determination was needed to fight against all types of terror.
Repeating his criticism regarding the West’s double standards, Erdoğan said that the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and the PKK should not find safe havens in Europe.
Turkish authorities have been criticizing European governments for failing to take proper measures to prevent attacks by terrorist supporters and ensure the security of Turkish people living there.
The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years and has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.
Despite its status as a designated international terrorist organization, the PKK has enjoyed relative freedom in European cities and has a particularly strong presence in Germany.
PKK supporters have been allowed to hold rallies, recruit militants and collect funds in Germany, which is home to some 5 million people of Turkish origin, including Kurds.