Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
– Photo: instagram.com/rterdogan
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated on Monday that he may take more action beyond airstrikes. According to Anadolu news agency, President Erdogan may launch a ground military operation to eliminate terrorists in northern Iraq and northern Syria.
Speaking to reporters after returning to Turkey from Qatar, Erdogan said it was not limited to just an air campaign. As we have said earlier, if someone disturbs the peace of our country and land, he will have to pay the price. This is because there are terrorist organizations in our southern region, who plan or carry out many attacks and who pose a threat.
The Turkish President’s remarks came after the Turkish President launched Operation Claw-Sword, a cross-border air campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)/YPP, which have built illegal bases on the Iraqi and Syrian borders, Anadolu Agency reported. Turkey’s air campaign was launched after a terrorist attack last Sunday that rocked Istanbul’s crowded Istiklal Avenue, killing at least six people and injuring 81.
Bombing in Istiklal was a terrorist attack: Bozdag
After the attack, Turkish police arrested the suspect who planted the bomb on Istanbul’s Istiklal street. CNN quoted Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktays as saying on Sunday that we consider this a terrorist attack, a female attacker detonated this bomb. Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said CCTV footage showed a woman sitting on a bench for more than 40 minutes and then getting up a minute or two before the explosion, leaving behind a backpack or plastic bag. He further added that a woman was detained on suspicion of involvement in the attack.
According to CNN, Bozdag made the comments in an interview with the privately owned A Haber news channel, saying Turkish security forces believe the woman is a suspect, and authorities are investigating her. Turkey’s Defense Ministry said the operation was carried out in accordance with the right of self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, Anadolu news agency reported.
70 aircraft were involved in the air strike
Erdogan has said that around 70 aircraft, including armed drones, took part in the operation and added that a total of 89 terror hideouts, including shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels and ammunition depots, were destroyed. It hit 45 terrorist targets in northern Iraq by penetrating approximately 140 km (87 mi) and 44 targets in Syria by penetrating approximately 20 km (12 mi).
Erdogan was asked whether Turkey had already shared information about this operation with Russia and America? In response, Erdogan reminded of the Sochi agreement between Ankara and Moscow to remove terrorists from north-eastern Syria, which borders the country.
He said it was his responsibility to drive the terrorists out of the area, Anadolu news agency reported. Unfortunately, we reminded them time and again, but they did not do so… We said that we will not remain silent against this and if they cannot do so, we will take action against the terrorists there.