TURKEY

Canikli says Turkish tanks in Afrin to get protection system

CANIKLI SAYS TURKISH TANKS IN AFRIN TO GET PROTECTION SYSTEM

Turkey's National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Wednesday a domestically produced protection system will be used for tanks in Operation Olive Branch.

In a special interview with Anadolu Agency, Canikli said: "We will begin to install PULAT [protection] system to our tanks participating in Afrin operation by the end of this month or beginning of April."

Canikli said the system would not only be limited to tanks, but also would be adapted to other armored vehicles in the future.

"PULAT is the turning point for the Turkish defense industry," he said.

The PULAT Active protection system, produced by Aselsan, Turkey's leading defense contractor, detects anti-tank missiles or projectiles approaching and fends off them at optimum range.

It provides 360 degrees full protection against anti-tank guided missiles and rockets. The system can work effectively under extreme environmental conditions such as dust, mud, snow, or rain.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

Canikli said the operation continued as planned. "There is no delay. If the conditions are favorable, the results will be obtained sooner."

"Work is underway to clear Jinderes area and soon Afrin's city center will be liberated," he added.

"Turkish Armed Forces cleared more than 100 settlements of terrorists so far. In this process, there were no civilian casualties. This is an important example of how the Turkish army works," he said.

"The operation continues in great coordination. Everything from logistics to healthcare is in harmony. There was no problem with ammunition and equipment used in the operation. Domestic weapons were used in the field. Fırtına (storm) howitzers, multi-barrel rocket launchers, rockets ..." Canikli said.

Speaking about a NATO Defense Ministers' meeting in Brussels in February, he said: "I talked to most of my counterparts and there was no criticism for Afrin operation."

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