Erdoğan says Turkey will never allow a new state in northern Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday that Turkey will never allow the formation of a new state in northern Syria.

“We will never allow the founding of this kind of state,” despite efforts to do so, Erdoğan told Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) in Istanbul.

Erdoğan also reiterated Turkey’s wish to see a “terror-free safe zone” in northern Syria for the safety of its southeastern border provinces.

“We have been saying this from the beginning. If this [issue] isn’t dealt with, Gaziantep is always hanging by a thread, Kilis is always hanging by a thread, Şanlıurfa is hanging by a thread,” he added, mentioning three border provinces.

President Erdoğan also said that he will discuss a no-fly zone in northern Syria with Trump when he takes office in January.

Turkey has demanded a no-fly zone in the area in the past, but the Obama administration has been reluctant to implement, citing logistics and troop commitments.

Separately, meeting with women entrepreneurs in Istanbul, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım stressed the goals of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria.

“Our aim in being there is ensuring the safety of life and property of our citizens who live along our southern borders,” said Yıldırım, adding that Turkey has long wanted to block the danger coming from northern Syria.

Separately, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli spoke on Turkey’s current Al-Bab operation as part of Operation Euphrates Shield.

“Operation Euphrates Shield should definitely be crowned with victory,” Bahçeli said at MHP headquarters in Ankara.

“If we emerged empty-handed from Al-Bab, we would endanger Diyarbakir and Ankara. Al-Bab should collapse around the hellhounds, and they should all perish.”

The Turkish army is supporting Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters’ efforts to liberate Al-Bab from Daesh, a strategic city for the terrorist group.

The Turkish army is currently active in northern Syria under Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in late August to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s border using FSA fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets.

Since the launch of Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish explosive ordnance disposal teams have neutralized 2,208 handmade explosives and 42 mines in areas rid of Daesh.

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