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Jan 15 2019

Turkey to control security zone, Trump’s threat behind us - Ankara spokesman

The spokesperson for the Turkish presidency said on Tuesday that the security zone in northern Syria will be under Ankara’s control, pro-government Hürriyet newspaper reported.

“Turkey will use its soft and hard power” in the region, İbrahim Kalın said, and that Turkish forces will control a 20-mile security zone inside Syria on the border.

Kalın’s statements came on the same day that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced a preliminary agreement with the United States on creating the zone. Erdoğan said that Turkey’s Public Housing Development Administration (TOKI) will be able to support the construction of new communities in the zone, with aid from coalition nations.

Kalin said that Turkey’s aim continues to be clearing “terrorist organisations targeting Turkey,” in reference to Kurdish militants allied with the United States which Ankara classifies as a terrorist group.

The presidential spokesperson also announced that Erdoğan will visit Moscow for a day on Jan. 23 to discuss the landscape in Syria. “Its purpose in particular will be about coordinating in [Syria] after the withdrawal of the U.S.”

Concerns about “economic threats” have been left in the past, Kalın said.

On late Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that “Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds.” But Erdoğan and Trump seemed to quickly makeup, issuing friendlier statements since then.