Turkey’s top civil and military leadership on Jan. 17 said it will take “immediate” and “resolute” steps to protect the nation from threats coming from western Syria.
“Necessary steps would be taken immediately and resolutely to defeat any threat against Turkey from western Syria in the first stage,” said a statement issued following the National Security Council meeting in the capital Ankara.
The meeting, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, lasted more than four hours.
The statement added that necessary steps will be taken to secure the life and property of the local community, and strengthen Turkey’s border with Syria.
“The establishment of a terror corridor and the formation of a terrorist army across the border will not be allowed,” it added.
The council rejected a U.S. plan to establish a 30,000-strong border security force in Syria, manned by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
“It is regrettable that a state, which is part of NATO and our ally in bilateral relations, declares terrorists as its partner and provides them weapons, without any concern for our safety,” the statement added.
“Weapons, tools and materials given to the PYD [Democratic Union Party], PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and YPG [People’s Protection Units] must be collected without delay,” it said, adding that the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was completed on a large scale.
The council also advised the government to extend the country’s state of emergency, a proposal which was later submitted to the Turkish Parliament by the cabinet.
Following the council meeting, a cabinet meeting, also chaired by Erdoğan, began at 8:30 p.m. and lasted an hour.
“Nobody should expect Turkey to be patient anymore,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said over the U.S. arming of the YPG during a news conference after the cabinet meeting.
He reiterated that Turkey is determined to take the necessary steps regarding the issue, adding that it faces threats at its border which “everybody is aware of.”
“Establishing a terror corridor in the region, supporting this establishment is unarguably an open threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity and border security, to the safety of life and property of our citizens and to national security,” Bozdağ said.
He said Turkey has been very clear regarding the arming of terrorist groups and has used all diplomatic means to express its reservations on the issue.
“[The U.S.] did wrong by continuing to fight a terrorist organization using another terrorist organization,” he added.
“The provided weapons are not the weapons only to be used against the ISIL terrorist organization. ISIL does not have air forces. When you consider the aid, it includes weapons to be used against air forces,” he added.