We will not 'step backward' from terror fight, Erdoğan aide says


Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın told reporters on Monday that Turkey would continue to fight terrorism in its own way and to take a step backward from this strong stance for the unity and solidarity in Turkey is out of question.

Ankara will strongly respond to any kind of terror threat, regardless of where it comes from, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın said on Monday.

Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul, Kalın said Turkey would not ask for permission to respond to threats as Ankara had the right to protect its sovereignty.

In response to a question regarding Turkey's military re-enforcement of its border near the PKK/PYD-held Syrian city of Afrin, Kalın said Ankara would "retaliate" if threatened.

Turkey has deployed more troops to its southeastern border near Hatay after soldiers came under fire from Afrin.

Ankara considers the PYD/YPG to be the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, a designated terrorist organization in Turkey, the U.S. and the EU. However, the U.S. views the PYD/PKK as its ally in the fight against Daesh in northern Syria.

Recalling recent PKK attacks in southeast Turkey which killed civilians and local elected officials, Kalın criticized Western countries' silence on these "massacres".

Two officials belonging to the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party were shot dead over the weekend in the eastern province of Van and southeastern province of Diyarbakır, while two road workers were killed and four others hurt in another attack in Şırnak on Monday, both by the PKK terrorist group.

Kalın also slammed what he called double standards by countries which criticized Turkey's anti-PKK measures.

He said Turkey would continue to fight terrorism in its own way.

"Whatever they say, we will continue to fight terrorism in the most effective way," he said, adding: "To take a step backward from this strong stance for the unity and solidarity in Turkey is out of question."

The PKK has killed nearly 1,200 people, including security personnel and civilians, in Turkey since the terror group resumed its decades-old campaign in July 2015.

Regarding international Saudi-led demands to close a Turkish military base in Qatar, Kalın said Ankara was working to establish peace across the region.

The Turkish military base established in Qatar following an agreement in 2014 "does not pose a threat to any countries in the region," Kalın said.

According to foreign media, a 13-point list of demands for Qatar includes the closure of its Al Jazeera television, downgrading its ties with Iran and extraditing "terrorists". Several Arab countries have given Doha a 10-day deadline to meet the demands.

Kalın said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would continue to keep in touch with regional and global actors regarding the Qatar crisis.

He underlined that the next few days were "critical" as Qatar handed over its response to the Saudi demands to Kuwait, the Gulf state mediating in the crisis.

On June 5, five Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen -- abruptly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Doha denies the accusations, describing the attempts to isolate it as "unjustified".

Regarding the anniversary of the defeated July 15 coup attempt in Turkey that martyred 250 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, Kalın said the day would be marked by several official events.

Week-long events will be held between July 11 and 16, with President Erdoğan expected to attend the main gatherings in Ankara and Istanbul, the two major cities affected by the coup attempt.

All 81 Turkish provinces will organize several events to commemorate those martyred in the deadly coup.

The Turkish government accuses the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, of orchestrating the attempt.

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