Press Statement From The Embassy Of The Republic Of Turkey
Our government has obtained a broad authority from the Parliament for potential actions we may take on Syria and Iraq in the period ahead.
Everyone is fully aware of Turkey's position on extremist groups in general, and ISIL in particular. Legal basis in this struggle has been fully established through the Parliament's authorization granted to our Government.
Turkey shares 1295 km. borders with Syria and Iraq. ISIL being priority, any threat coming out of this geography is first directed against Turkey. ISIL, therefore, constitutes a direct threat to Turkey's national security. Turkish Armed Forces are ready for any duty our Government may instruct in the face of these threats to national security. However, we give priority, just as other countries do, to the security of our military personnel.
Air operations operations against ISIL should continue. However, ISIL cannot be eradicated by countering it through fighting it in Iraq alone or simply at the local level. As we have been emphasizing from the outset, the threats, risks and dangers emanating from Syria cannot be stopped as long as the regime in Syria stays in Damascus. It is obvious that we cannot reach security and stability in Syria without fighting the regime. Therefore, we should not view the regime and the ISIL separately during our efforts.
ISIL has been able to dig in thanks to the air support of the regime in Syria. Therefore, NFZs and safe areas are of vital importance. We cannot solve the current problems as long as we do not implement NFZs. NFZs are also necessary for settling the displaced Syrian population safely back in Syria, also with their security provided. During last week, 200 thousand Syrians have entered Turkey only from the Kobani region. 400 thousand Syrians are living in Kamışlı. Further ahead, in Aleppo, there are almost 2 million people. Any pressure towards these centers of settlement would push the populations living there towards Turkey. Already hosting over 1,5 million Syrians on its territory, Turkey cannot shoulder such a burden.
The strategy should also include elements against the re-deployment of regime elements or various terrorist structures to the areas where ISIL would be eliminated from.
As before, PKK terrorist elements related to this region continue to be a threat against Turkey.
From the outset, Turkey handled Ayn Al Arab/Kobani issue with utmost sensitivity. The recent developments regarding Ayn Al Arab/Kobani is part of the developments in entire Syria. Trying to read a conflict, which has claimed over 200 thousand lives, only through the developments in Ayn Al Arab/Kobani is not correct.
It's not possible to close our borders to those coming from Syria due to legal and humanitarian considerations. There are now almost 200 thousand Syrians in Turkey from the Kobani region. Despite the risks, Turkey, through mobilizing its resources, continues to maintain an open door policy for people coming to its borders, regardless of their ethnic identity. Humanitarian aid is also being sent to Kobani region. Turkey also retaliated the threats and attacks from ISIL from its territory, in conformity with its rules of engagement.
Turkey's sensitivity is not exclusively limited to a certain region or group in Syria. Reflecting this sensitivity, Turkey's calls against ISIL advancement towards Turkoman settlements, namely Tel Abyad and Çobanbey, a few months ago fell into deaf ears. Friendly countries should not be selective in their sensitivities while reflecting upon and managing the reactions of their public opinion.
Once the strategy is agreed upon, Turkey is ready to discuss the execution of any joint effort
with its allies and friendly countries.
Any possible expectations from Turkey should take above-mentioned elements into consideration.
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