Erdogan hints again at military operation in northern Syria; Details

In a new hint of a military operation in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a press conference on Wednesday, on the sidelines of his participation in the “G20” Summit in Indonesia: The world should realize that Turkey will do what it takes in light of the investigations, related to the Istanbul bombing last Sunday.

He said his country will continue to “resolutely implement its strategy to eliminate the menace of terrorism from its roots,” adding that “Turkey expects all its friends and allies to sincerely support its legitimate struggle in the fight against terrorism.”

“I reiterate that no form of terrorism can take place in the future of our country and our region… “The terrorist PKK organization is trying to cover up its defeats in Syria and Iraq with treacherous operations such as the bombing that took place in Istanbul’s Istiqlal Street last Sunday.”

He added that this attack, which killed 6 people and injured 81 people, was carried out, according to the Turkish police, by a Syrian named Ahlam Al-Bashir, who trained in the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) camps in Ain Al-Arab (Kobane) in northern Syria, “once again showed the bloody and ugly face of the terrorist organizations,” noting that Turkish security forces arrested the perpetrator in a very short time.

Asked about the possibility of a military operation by Turkey outside its borders in the wake of the attack, Erdogan said: “Now investigations are underway regarding the attack, and in light of the results, we will do what needs to be done, and the world should realize this,” Asharq Al-Awsat wrote.

Last May, Erdogan also threatened to carry out a military operation in northern Syria targeting the positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the majority of whose forces are Kurdish units. The aim is to complete the safe areas in northern Syria in order to protect Turkey’s southern border and absorb Syrian refugees there.

On Tuesday, a senior Turkish official told Reuters that Turkey intends to pursue targets in northern Syria after it completes an operation against PKK militants in northern Iraq, noting that threats posed by Kurdish militants or the Islamic State to Turkey are unacceptable, adding that Ankara will eliminate threats on its southern border “one way or another.”

The Turkish government blamed Kurdish militants for Sunday’s blast on a crowded shopping street in Istanbul that killed six people and injured more than 80. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the PKK and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) were responsible.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) denied any role in the explosion that rocked Istanbul’s Independence Street on Sunday, saying in a statement: “We will not directly target civilians, nor accept actions that target civilians.”

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), whose main faction is the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), denied any involvement in the bombing, said SDF commander Mazloum Abdi.

Observers do not rule out the possibility of the involvement of the Turkish intelligence service in the service of the political agenda of the Turkish president and his party, but this scenario remains just assumptions and there is no evidence to prove it.

According to the same source, it is believed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) will use this attack, whoever is behind it, for electoral purposes, or for military action that is being prepared in the closed rooms of the Turkish Defense Ministry.

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