Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the so-called ” Euphrates Shield” offensive would be targeting terrorist groups like ISIL and Kurdish militants.
At a press conference in Ankara, Erdogan said the operation was aimed against both ISIL and PYD — Democratic Union Party, whose military wing the People’s Protection Units (YPG) –“terror groups that continuously threaten our country in northern Syria.”
“We have said ‘enough is enough’ … This process began from 4:00 am. This now needs to be resolved,” said Erdogan.
“Attacks on our country from Syria brought things to this point,” said Erdogan, adding that “no one will threaten our being”.
“They think every attack on us weakens us. They are mistaken. They make us stronger.”
“There are those who say Turkey will be affected from this operation in this or that way. I tell them to think about their own future.”
Meanwhile, Erdogan said he would tell US Vice President Joe Biden that Washington has “no excuse” for not handing over the Pennsylvania-based cleric blamed for last month’s failed coup.
The Turkish president who is due to meet with Biden in Ankara later on Wednesday, said Turkey would continue to provide US officials with documents to demand the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999.
Gulen, once an Erdogan ally, denies any involvement in the July 15 coup attempt and has condemned it. But Turkish officials say a network of Gulen supporters for years infiltrated Turkey’s military and public offices to create a “parallel state”.
“We will tell him that FETO’s leader is in your country,” Erdogan said, using an acronym for “Gulenist Terror Organization”, the name Ankara has given Gulen’s network. “If a country wants a criminal in your country to be extradited, you have no rights to argue with that.”
Erdogan said Turkey and Washington were strategic partners and keeping Gulen would not benefit the United States.
Biden, who arrived in Turkey on Wednesday, was guided by Turkish officials around the parliament, which was damaged during the coup attempt. He is also expected to meet with the prime minister.