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Turkey will not bow to Trump’s threats over Syria safe zone

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay in Cernobbia, Italy on 6 September 2019 [Muhammet Fatih Oğraş/Anadolu Agency]
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay in Cernobbia, Italy on 6 September 2019 [Muhammet Fatih Oğraş/Anadolu Agency]

Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay has said that his country will not be dictated to by anyone, Anadolu reported on Tuesday. Oktay made his comment following US President Donald Trump’s threats to “destroy” the Turkish economy over plans to create a safe zone in Syria.

The Turkish official pointed out that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stressed that, “Turkey sets its own way when it comes to its national security.”

Trump made his bombastic threat on Twitter: “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

Oktay’s response was made during the inauguration ceremony of the 2019-2020 academic year at Gazi University in Ankara. Turkey, he said, will never tolerate the creation of a “terror corridor or a terror state” at its border under any circumstances, regardless of the cost. “It is time to establish a safe zone in northern Syria, and create an opportunity for Syrians in Turkey to return home voluntarily.”

READ: Turkey set to invade Syria as the US gives blessing, withdraws troops

Turkey plans to resettle 2 million Syrians in a 30 km-wide safe zone to be set up in Syria, stretching from the River Euphrates to the Iraqi border, and including Manbij. Since 2016, The Turkish Army’s Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch in north-western Syria have liberated the region from Kurdish YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for nearly 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to return to their country.

In more than 30 years of its terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK — which is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the European Union — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants, Anadolu pointed out. The YPG is the Syrian branch of the PKK.

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