Turkey conducted an air operation in Syria and Iraq due to Russia's refusal to fulfill promises to withdraw Kurdish formations from the border of the republic, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. His words are quoted by CNN Turk and Daily Sabah.
He recalled that Moscow and Ankara agreed in Sochi in 2019 that the Russian Federation would help “cleanse terrorists” from the territories of northern Iraq and Syria. However, Moscow has not fulfilled and is not going to fulfill the agreements, Erdogan stressed.
“We have stated that we will not be silent and will take action against terrorism if they do not. So, we struck and eliminated 12 terrorist nests in Kobane. Turkey will not hold back, this anti-terrorist operation both from the air and from the ground will continue.”
In addition, Erdogan clarified that he did not meet with US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin about the operation.
“Both Biden and Putin already know that we can do these things in this region at any time. In fact, as in this case, we always say that we can come suddenly one night.”
Earlier, Erdogan announced the operation "Claw-sword" against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK, Turkey recognized the party as a terrorist organization) in northern Syria and Iraq. On November 20, Turkey launched strikes against the Kurdish-occupied areas of these countries, claiming that the territory was used as a terrorist base for attacks on Turkey. The strikes came after an explosion occurred on the pedestrian street of Istiklal in the center of Istanbul on November 13, which killed 6 people and injured 81. Turkey blamed the PKK for what happened, the Turkish police reported that the terrorist attack was carried out by a Syrian citizen born in 1999, who admitted ties to the PKK. Also, about 50 people were detained in the case.
In early June, Erdogan announced his readiness to launch a new anti-terrorist operation in Syria in order to “clear terrorists” from the cities of Tell Rifat and Manbij. Then he also emphasized that the United States and Russia "did not fulfill their obligations to create a safe zone" in the border area. In addition, the Turkish president accused Finland and Sweden, who were about to join NATO, of providing safe haven to terrorists, including members of the People's Protection Units (YPG) and the PKK. Arabist Marianna Belenkaya and military expert Alexander Khramchikhin then explained to The Insider that Erdogan wanted to see how the US and Russia reacted after the decision was made.