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Yildirim says Turkey will respond to any Raqqah threats

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Turkey will “give the required response” to any threats to its security arising from the operation to capture Raqqah, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Tuesday. reports citing Anadolu Agency.

“We will never allow any issue to pose an internal threat to Turkey,” he told a meeting of Justice and Development Party lawmakers in Ankara.

“If we face any… threat to our security from Raqqah or any point in that region, we instantly give the required response.”

Earlier, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that the operation to retake Raqqah had been launched. The city in eastern Syria has been Daesh’s main stronghold in the country since early 2014.

The SDF is mainly comprised of the PKK/PYD, the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which has waged war against Turkey for more than three decades and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and U.S.

While Turkey has also listed the PKK/PYD as a terror group, the U.S. views it as an ally.

Turkey previously suggested using the Syrian militia it supports for the Raqqah operation.

“Turkey’s sensitivity and red lines are clear and they will never change,” Yildirim said.


Referring to Daesh and the PKK/PYD, he added: “Despite all of our warnings… our ally and friend the United States unfortunately cooperated with terrorist groups with the idea that they would demolish another terror group.

“As Turkey, we will never allow our country to be damaged from the results of this cooperation.”

Although the prime minister did not outline the potential action Turkey could take, the Turkish military has struck the PKK/PYD with airstrikes and artillery in recent months.

Yildirim also addressed the row over German lawmakers’ access to visit around 260 troops at Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, saying a decision had yet to be made.

Germany has threatened to withdraw its forces, six Tornado surveillance jets and a tanker aircraft providing support for anti-Daesh operations, if it is not granted access.

The visit has been denied on the grounds that some German lawmakers openly support the PKK and that Berlin has not taken a tough enough stance against the PKK and Fetullah Terrorist Organization in Germany. Turkey has accused the latter of orchestrating last July’s coup attempt.

“Turkey has made no decision,” Yildirim said. “Germany is free to decide whatever it wants.”

Germany is considering relocating its forces to a base in Jordan.

2017.06.06 / 23:59
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