Turkey must fight constant cross-border threats, Turkish president tells party meeting
Ankara must take its “own measures” in Syria's Idlib province due to its shared border with Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.
“Turkey shares a border with Idlib. Thus, we should take our own measures,” Erdogan told a meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) Party in the Turkish capital.
“It is us that shares a 911-kilometer [566-mile] long border line with Syria. It is us who are under constant abuse and threat,” he added.
The president stated Turkey was the target of daily attacks and plots.
"Some of these attacks are made to distract our attention and our energy from critical developments in our region," he said.
"Those who supported terror groups such as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization [FETO] and the PKK failed to corner Turkey [and] are taking now direct action," he added.
Speaking about the difficult times Turkey faced, including last year's defeated July 15 coup attempt, Erdogan said the country would not forget those who supported it in hard times nor the ones who “stood in Turkey's way”.
"Of course we know that relations between countries cannot be arranged according to the principle of absolute friendship and absolute enmity," he added.
Erdogan also said Turkey was “very uncomfortable” with what he called the “double standards” shown by some states towards the country.
"Every day Turkey confronts a new game by those who can’t make us kneel in the political, diplomatic, military or economic areas," Erdogan said.
"We are not bounded by just resistance or defense. We implement our own game plan, step by step," he added.
Erdogan's remarks come after the Turkish military announced the creation of observation posts in Idlib under a May deal between Turkey, which backs groups opposed to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and Russia and Iran, which support Assad.
The agreement aims to ensure the continuation of a cease-fire agreed last December between the three guarantor nations.
According to the military statement, these de-escalation zones were created to “enhance the effectiveness of the cease-fire regime, end conflicts, bring humanitarian aid to those in need [and] establish the necessary conditions for the return of those displaced”.
Turkey’s latest military campaign follows Operation Euphrates Shield, which saw the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish forces, clear Daesh from territory in northern Syria between August 2016 and March.