Erdogan: Turkey cannot handle new migrant wave from Syria
Date: 2019-09-10 14:51
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated Tuesday (September 10) that Ankara's safe zone plan is crucial for Turkey both due to security concerns and to protect its welfare, urging Washington to stand with its NATO ally in its efforts.
"It's not possible for Turkey to handle a new wave of migration from Syria," Erdogan said in his televised address at the Presidential Palace Complex in Ankara after a meeting with US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and the accompanying delegation, who are in Turkey for a five-day working visit.
"Currently, the biggest obstacles before the return of migrants are terrorist groups such as the PKK and its affiliate the YPG," the president said, referring to the biggest group inside the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), currently occupying one-third of Syrian territory in the north and northeast.
"This structure, which is carrying out ethnic cleansing, forcing the peoples of the region to migrate and threatening Turkish citizens' safety of life and property, must absolutely be removed from being an element of threat," Erdogan said.
"Sending up to 50,000 truckloads of equipment and ammunition to terrorist groups is seriously bothering us," he added.
"This is not something to be completed in three or five helicopter flights, five or ten vehicle patrols; the presence of a couple of soldiers in the region are only for show. We must bring the whole region with its cities and rural areas to a safe status to settle one million people there," Erdogan said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also accused the US of not keeping its promises in northern Syria due to its engagement with the PKK/YPG terror group.
The first steps taken for a safe zone in northern Syria with the US, including the establishment of a joint operations center was "a good start," Cavusoglu said at a joint press conference with his visiting Montenegrin counterpart Srdjan Darmanovic.
Cavusoglu stressed that Turkey was clear about its warnings.
Cavusoglu described the US' position in the east of Euphrates River as "purely cosmetic."
"The steps taken or those said to have been taken are cosmetic steps," he said.
"We see that the US is trying to stall the whole process and make us go along with it; however, our position on this issue is very clear," said Cavusoglu.
The foreign minister said clearing northern Syria of these terror groups was "a security concern for Turkey" and pointed out that the US was sustaining this stalling process via these "cosmetic steps" for show and also continuing to cement its engagement by supporting terror groups.
On Sept. 8, Turkey and the US military personnel completed their first joint ground patrol for the establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates in Syria. The patrol was backed by unmanned aerial vehicles and helicopters.
Based on Daily Sabah