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Afrin Operation Turkey's lawful right, MHP head says

AFRIN OPERATION TURKEYS LAWFUL RIGHT, MHP HEAD SAYS

Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader said Tuesday that a possible military operation by Turkey in the besieged Afrin city in northern Syria was its "lawful right".

Speaking to lawmakers of his party in the parliament, Devlet Bahçeli criticized a decision by the U.S-led international coalition against Daesh to establish a 30,000-strong border security force with the SDF, which is largely controlled and manned by the PKK/PYD terrorist organization in Syria.

"The U.S. is safeguarding terror and terrorists in Syria. They are clearly violating international law."

Bahçeli said Turkey should act swiftly to destroy the source of terrorism. "Otherwise, an occupation plan of Turkey is the secret agenda of the shameless people who have gathered in the enemy camp."

"Cutting ties of the terror corridor with the Mediterranean Sea by entering Afrin at dawn, showing the Turkish nation's iron fist and legitimate intervention to the terrorists is our lawful right," he added.

On Saturday, Turkish security forces hit several PKK/PYD targets in Afrin to prevent a "terror corridor" from forming along Turkey's borders.

"Afrin should be cleared. Manbij and other sources, terror camps, terrorist areas should be destroyed," he said.

Bahçeli's remarks came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's speech, where he said Turkey would continue its fight against terrorism on its southern borders through the Afrin operation.

"In the coming days, God willing, we will continue with Afrin [operation] -- as part of what we initially started with Operation Euphrates Shield -- to purge terrorism from our southern borders," said Erdoğan on Sunday.

The Afrin operation will follow Turkey's successful seven-month Operation Euphrates Shield, which ended in March 2017.

Erdogan also said he expected support from allies in Turkey's fight against terrorism.

The coalition had issued a written statement to some media outlets earlier on Sunday, wherein it said that it was working with the SDF to set up and train a Syrian border protection force.

Turkey has long protested the U.S. support for the PKK/PYD, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, and its military wing PYG, while Washington sees it as a "reliable ally" in its fight against Daesh in Syria.

Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, the PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years.

Afrin, a district of Aleppo near the Turkish-Syria border, is under siege by the PKK/PYD terrorist organization.

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