“Turkey can no longer afford to be a mere onlooker to the situation east of the Euphrates”

“Turkey can no longer afford to be a mere onlooker to the situation east of the Euphrates”

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Speaking at a meeting of AK Party’s provincial heads, President Erdogan said: Faced with a threat of millions of new refugees from Idlib, Turkey can no longer afford to be a mere onlooker to the situation east of the Euphrates. As I lately stated, we are determined to effectively kick off the formation of a safe zone east of the Euphrates the way we want to do it by the last week of September.

President and Justice and Development (AK) Party Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a speech at a meeting of the party’s provincial heads in Ankara.

WE WILL DEFEND OUR RIGHTS IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN TO THE END

Pointing to Turkey’s hydrocarbon exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean, President Erdogan said that Turkey’s drillships are accompanied by Turkish corvettes and frigates during their activates in the eastern Mediterranean and that Turkey will continue to defend the rights of its own citizens and those of its kinsmen in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to the end.

SANCTIONS THREATS AGAINST OUR COUNTRY CANNOT SCARE US

Drawing attention to the obstacles put in the way of Turkey’s procurement of air defense systems, new-generation fighter jets and hi-tech products, President Erdogan said: Rest assured that each and every obstacle put before us becomes meaningless after a while as we develop the same the technology and product by ourselves.

Sanctions threats cannot scare or force Turkey to give up, underscored President Erdogan, and continued: On the contrary, they reinforce our determination on the road we walk. We cannot hold the right to live should we spend our lives being afraid of others. In this regard, the period ahead will witness new developments of historic importance.

TURKEY HAS RECEIVED WITH OPEN ARMS PEOPLE FLEEING BARREL BOMBS

Touching upon the developments in Syria, President Erdogan stated that Turkey, having received with open arms people fleeing barrel bombs and having hosted nearly 3.65 million Syrian refugees for the past eight years, has spent almost $40 billion for refugees even though the EU has not honored its promises concerning the refugees hosted in Turkey.

Reiterating Turkey’s call for the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria for the resettlement of Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey, President Erdogan asked for logistic and financial support in order to build housing which would provide Syrian refugees with humanitarian living conditions in northern Syria.

In addition to Syrian refugees, Turkey hosts immigrants from Afghanistan, too, noted President Erdogan, and underlined that Turkey couldn’t receive sufficient support from the world, especially from the EU, on the sharing of the refugee burden. Further stressing that Turkey is being left to shoulder the burden of Syrian refugees alone, President Erdogan said Turkey might be forced to open the gates if it doesn’t receive adequate support.

THERE ARE MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SAFE ZONE WE WANT AND THE SAFE ZONE OUR INTERLOCUTORS HAVE IN MIND

Drawing attention to the possibility of a new refugee influx towards Turkey because of the developments in Idlib, President Erdogan stressed that Turkey, in close cooperation with Russia, is trying to ensure security in Idlib and to enable people to live in their own homes there.

Also pointing to the steps aimed at ensuring security in the territory extending from the east of the Euphrates to Iraqi border, from where the majority of Syrian refugees living in Turkey hail, President Erdogan said that Turkey is working to reach a consensus with the U.S. on the issue.

Underscoring that past experiences push Turkey to be cautious on these issues, President Erdogan stated: All the developments show that there are major differences between the safe zone we want and the safe zone our interlocutors have in mind. Faced with a threat of millions of new refugees from Idlib, Turkey can no longer afford to be a mere onlooker to the situation east of the Euphrates. As I lately stated, we are determined to effectively kick off the formation of a safe zone east of the Euphrates the way we want to do it by the last week of September. Doing this with our American friends is the optimum way for all of us; yet, if the groundwork for this doesn’t emerge, then we have completed our preparations and will start this job by our own means.

Source: Presidency of the Republic Of Turkey

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