Ankara: Turkey has said the military operations carried out on its southern borders were necessary for national security and do not target the territorial integrity of its neighbours.
“Current and future military operations being conducted on Turkey’s southern borders do not target the territorial integrity of its neighbours, but stem from national security needs and will contribute to their security as well,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Turkish National Security Council as saying in a statement.
The statement came after a meeting of the Council chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The meeting, attended by relevant ministers and commanders, discussed the operations and investigations against “terrorist groups” like the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
On Monday, Erdogan said Turkey would soon launch a new military operation in northern Syria.
The operation will target the remaining areas of a plan in which Turkey’s military would create “safe zones at a depth of 30 km” along the country’s southern borders.
Turkey’s forces and the YPG militants often exchange fire in the region and the clashes have accelerated since early this year.
The Turkish army launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, Operation Olive Branch in 2018, Operation Peace Spring in 2019, and Operation Spring Shield in 2020 in northern Syria, aiming to eliminate terror threats and provide a safe zone that will facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.
Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK.