Turkey says its troops are to stay in Syria as long as there are “threats” against the Turkish state, days into a military incursion violating Syrian sovereignty.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim made the remark on Wednesday.
Turkey launched an incursion into Syria last week. It said the incursion was meant to engage the Takfiri Daesh terrorists in the Syrian-Turkish border area as well as Kurdish fighters, who were themselves fighting Daesh.
The Turkish forces engaged the fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkish authorities say is allied with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.
Joining the incursion, which has so far cost the lives of dozens of civilians, have been hordes of militants that Ankara has been supporting against the central government in Damascus for years.
Washington has, meanwhile, expressed dismay at Turkey’s trigger-happy attitude toward the Kurds.
Also on Wednesday, Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik further downplayed the prospect of a let-up by saying that Ankara did not accept a ceasefire with the Kurds.
“Turkey is a sovereign state, it is a legitimate state. To suggest it is on a par with a terrorist organization and suggest there are talks between them, that a deal has been reached between them, this is unacceptable,” he said, apparently referring to the YPG.
Iran has voiced concern about the continuation of the Turkish military presence in Syria.