Ruling AKP deputy chairman says Turkey is facing a war

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Numan Kurtulmuş on Monday said the country will go into neighbouring Syria to clear terrorist organisations from northern Syria and has no intention of invading the war-torn country.

“Turkey’s aims are clear. We will never be present in Syria with the aim of an invasion,” Kurtulmuş was quoted as saying by Turkish left-wing daily BirGün.

Turkey is looking to establish a safe zone 30 km deep and ensure the return of Syrian refugees, Kurtulmuş added. 

Turkey and the United States had agreed in August to establish a demilitarised zone along the Turkish border in parts of northern Syria under control of majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Upon what Turkey called prolonged disagreement on details and dissatisfaction with the progress, Ankara announced that its long-planned operation against the region was to start soon.

Underlining that every development in northern Syria poses a national security threat to Turkey, Kurtulmuş said, “We are facing a war, albeit within defined limits, where terrorist organisations will be cleared from the area.”

Kurtulmuş said it was up to Washington to decide whom it would be cooperating with in the region.

“In the end, will the United States cooperate with Turkey, the most stable democracy in the Middle East with a population of 82 million, or with the YPG, with 5 to 10 thousand militants?” Kurtulmuş said.