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Erdoğan: Israel's threats and attempts to spread conflict must stop

''Israel's threats against the countries of the region, particularly Lebanon, and its attempts to spread the conflict across the region must stop. Otherwise, our region faces a greater risk of deeper conflicts and even war," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a statement on Thursday.

Agencies and A News TÜRKIYE
Published July 11,2024
(File Photo)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Türkiye fights terrorist organizations without discrimination and expects NATO allies to adopt a similar counter-terrorism approach.

"Unfortunately, we have not received the expected level of support and solidarity from our allies thus far. We cannot tolerate this situation, nor is it consistent with the spirit of alliance, for the ringleaders of terrorist organizations that pose a threat to Türkiye's national security to be accepted as legitimate actors," said President Erdoğan in an exclusive interview with Newsweek published on Thursday.

Noting that Ankara adopts a "holistic" approach to security threats in a way that also contributes to the security of its allies, he stressed: "We believe that it would be better to adopt a principled approach to the problems in our region and the world rather than one based on subjective and short-term interests."

Stressing that combating terrorism is a matter of "concern," Erdoğan stated: "We are a NATO country. The threat to our national security is a threat to all NATO countries, especially the U.S. In fact, this is the situation as evidenced by the agreements that were responsible for the establishment and continued existence of NATO.

"However, the support given by the U.S. and some of our other allies to the terrorist organizations PKK/PYD/YPG and FETÖ that threaten our security does not comply with these principles of NATO."

"The PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist organization uses the support given under the pretext of 'fighting DAESH' to attack us and Syria. We are the ones truly fighting DAESH. We are the sole NATO ally that engages in close combat with DAESH. We are striving for a climate of peace in Syria. The solution to all these conflicts is a new social unison in Syria on the basis of territorial integrity," he added.

Erdoğan also expressed desire for Syria to become a "prosperous state completely free of terrorism and ruled by Syrians."

While acknowledging differences with the U.S., the Turkish president underlined that Türkiye and the U.S. have "deep-rooted ties," adding: "We intend to develop them."

Regarding the presence of the Daesh/ISIS terrorists and PKK/YPG terrorists near Türkiye's borders, Erdoğan said: "We have no problem with the Kurdish population, neither in Syria nor in Iraq. We have a problem with terrorists, and we are close to solving it by neutralizing terrorists.

"For those who think that they can create a terrorist state in our region, this is an utter dream and will never come true," he added.

Türkiye has long complained of the U.S. working with the PKK/YPG on the pretext of fighting Daesh/ISIS. Turkish officials say using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.

Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations since 2016 across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019).

In its nearly 40-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK-listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the U.S. and the European Union-has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

The YPG, also known as the PYD, is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.


Regarding the Russia-Ukraine war and the possibility of a direct clash between NATO and Russia, Erdoğan stated: "Right from the outset, we have declared that we will not be a party to this war. Our stance is exclusively in favor of peace. The solution is not more bloodshed and suffering, but rather a lasting peace achieved through dialogue. This has resulted in more harm than good for Ukraine."

Stressing Ankara's key role in bringing Moscow and Kyiv together around the same table in Antalya and Istanbul besides its role in the Black Sea Grain Initiative to facilitate the shipment of blockaded Ukrainian grains, he added: "The prospect of a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is undoubtedly concerning. Any steps that could lead to this outcome must be deliberately avoided.

"We are of the opinion that it is appropriate to approach the matter with a solution-oriented approach and with restraint."

On his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Erdoğan said that even though they do not have the same views on every issue, "we are able to discuss matters among ourselves and delve into the specifics of how to resolve them."


When asked about Türkiye's involvement in BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Erdoğan noted that Türkiye is an "unwavering" NATO ally, and highlighted: "We do not believe that this impedes our ability to establish positive relationships with nations such as China and Russia. Nor do we think that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an alternative to NATO.

"Similarly, we do not consider BRICS to be an alternative to any other structure. We regard all of these structures and alliance grounds as formations with distinct functions."

Underlining Ankara's "unique" position, Erdoğan said that Türkiye strengthens its position as a "reliable partner" in all structures it participates in. The president noted: "That is why, as a NATO member, we do not consider it a problem to interact with countries in the SCO, BRICS, the European Union, or the Organization of Turkic States. We even believe that these relationships contribute to world peace."


Regarding the ongoing war in Gaza, Erdoğan stated: "Israel is violating international law. What happened to the resolution of UNSC for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza? Israel did not even bother, let alone enforce it.

"We want these (Israel's) attacks to stop immediately, Israel to withdraw from Gaza, and humanitarian aid to be delivered to Gaza without interruption. We want the two-state solution based on 1967 borders to be implemented for lasting peace in the region."

Israel's threats against the countries of the region, particularly Lebanon, and its attempts to spread the conflict across the region must stop. Otherwise, our region faces a greater risk of deeper conflicts and even war," he further said.