Turkey is a strong member of NATO with its second-largest army and wants to join the EU as a full member, Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said Wednesday.
Allies must take threats against Turkey’s national security seriously and work in partnership to overcome them, he said in a program in Berlin co-organized by the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum and the Korber Foundation.
Kalin also stressed Turkey’s determination in fighting terrorism.
“We do not want to see any terrorist elements taking over a piece of land, ruling over people in Syria, whether by PKK[YPG] or ISIS or al-Qaida or any other groups,” he said.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of 2 million refugees.
Under two separate deals with the U.S. and Russia, Turkey paused the operation to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the planned northern Syria safe zone.
However, the terrorists have failed to withdraw from some areas and continue to attack soldiers and civilians.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.