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President Erdoğan: Turkey may come to PKK-held Sinjar overnight

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a speech during a meeting at TÜMSİAD. He stressed that Turkey would not tolerate the presence of the PKK terror organization and their affiliated groups in Iraq and Syria

Published April 29,2017

Turkey's ongoing fight against terrorist groups is not optional but necessary for the country's safety, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday.

"The fight against terrorist organizations is not an option for us, but a must," Erdogan told the general assembly of the All Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUMSIAD) in Istanbul. "We will not tolerate any terrorist group."

He said Turkey's ongoing anti-terror war should not be considered a game either. "For Turkey it is a battle for survival," the president said, referring to operations against the terrorist groups the PKK, FETO, and Daesh.

The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU -- resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015 and since then has been responsible for the deaths of approximately 1,200 security personnel and civilians, including women and children.

Turkey accuses Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) of orchestrating the coup attempt of July 2016 which resulted in 249 deaths and thousands of injuries, as well as the bombing of vital government buildings, including the parliament.

FETO is also accused of infiltrating state institutions in a bid to overthrow the Turkish government.

Erdogan also hinted at a new operation against the presence of the PKK and its PYD/YPG offshoots in northern Iraq's Mt. Sinjar region and northern Syria.

"Turkey knows what to do and when to do it; we may come there overnight all of a sudden," said Erdogan.

"Do not toy with this nation. Everybody will see it," the president said, citing Tuesday's airstrikes on Mt. Sinjar and Syria's Mt. Karacok.

In April 25 airstrikes against PKK terrorists, meant to prevent the group from sending terrorists, arms, ammunition, and explosives to Turkey, 40 terrorists were killed at Iraq's Mt. Sinjar, and another 49 at Syria's Mt. Karacok, including four high-ranking terrorists, according to the Turkish army.

Both regions are located some 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of the border with Turkey.

Since 2014, the PKK has maintained a presence in Sinjar on the pretext that it is fighting the Daesh terrorist group.

Regarding the Raqqa, Syria operation, Erdogan said he would discuss the issue with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump at their meeting on May 16.

He once again urged the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition forces to back Turkey, not the PYD/YPG terrorists.

"If we cooperate -- the U.S., Turkey, and all coalition forces -- we will drive Daesh out of Raqqa. They will look for a place to hide," Erdogan said, adding that allowing other terror groups to gain ground in Iraq would cause more carnage.

Turkey has repeatedly called for an end to U.S. support for the PYD, the terrorist PKK's Syrian branch.

But while the U.S. classifies the PKK as terrorists, it has called the PYD an ally in its fight against Daesh in Syria.