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Operations across southern borders do not target neighbors' territorial integrity, says Turkiye

08:48 27 May 2022 Author :  

Current and future operations across Turkiye's southern borders do not target its neighbors' territorial integrity, but are necessary for the country's national security, the Turkish National Security Council said on Thursday.

"It was stated that the operations being carried out to clear our southern borders of the threat of terrorism, as well as those that will be carried out, in no way target our neighbors' territorial integrity or sovereignty and are a requirement of our national security needs," the council said in a statement following its meeting.

These operations will "significantly contribute" to the peace and security of neighboring countries, it added.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would take steps to complete the remainder of a 30-kilometer (18-mile) safe zone along its southern border.

Turkiye borders Syria and Iraq to its south and has worked to eliminate existing terrorist bases and prevent new ones that would threaten its national security and the safety of locals across its borders.

The council also urged countries violating international law by supporting terrorism to "put an end" to this attitude.

Underlining that Turkiye always fulfills the spirit and law of alliance in the international blocs where it is a member, the council said Ankara expects the same responsibility and sincerity from its allies.

As Sweden and Finland pursue NATO membership, Ankara has repeatedly called for the two countries to decisively cut off links with terror groups.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week -- a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Turkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

The National Security Council also discussed Turkiye's ongoing anti-terror operations and other measures, said the statement.

'Needs for comprehensive cease-fire'

On Russia's war on Ukraine, the council stressed the need for a comprehensive cease-fire without delay, underlining that a solution to be reached that provides for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would lay the groundwork for lasting peace in the region.

Also touching on "increasing provocative actions" by neighboring Greece, the National Security Council highlighted that Turkiye would maintain its determined stance on protecting its rights and interests.

It also referred to the recent burning of the Muslim holy book in some European nations, the council urged authorities in those countries to take action against rising Islamophobia.

The council also emphasized the importance of preserving the stability achieved in Libya, protecting the country's territorial integrity, and avoiding steps that may lead to new conflict.

At least 3,974 civilians have been killed and 4,654 injured since the war in Ukraine began on Feb. 24, according to UN estimates. The true toll is believed to be much higher.

Nearly 6.6 million people have fled to other countries, while more than 7.7 million have been internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency./aa

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