ANKARA (RT/Middle East Eye) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that his country will launch a new military incursion in northern Syria, targeting the towns of Tel Rifaat and Manbij.
In a speech made to MPs of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan said the Turkish military would continue to rid its neighbor of “terrorists” linked to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“We are taking a new step in establishing a 30km security zone along our southern border,” he said. “We will clean up Tel Rifaat and Manbij.”
He added that the military would also proceed “step by step in other regions”.
The Syrian government has reiterated its rejection of Turkey’s move to create a so-called border safe zone in northern Syria.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement the Turkish attempt to create a buffer zone on the Syrian border is an “outrageous” act of aggression.
The latest Turkish military incursion in northern Syria violates human rights and commits war crimes, the ministry added.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned ambassadors from Germany and France to issue a note of protest over the unhindered activity of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in their countries.
In an interview with Anadolu news agency, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that Turkey was concerned with the recent rise in activities by the PKK and other terrorist organizations in France and Germany, after the group, who Ankara considers to be terrorists, held demonstrations in the two countries.
“We are talking about rallies at which symbols and flags of terrorists were demonstrated. The ambassadors of Germany and France were summoned yesterday to the Foreign Ministry. They were handed notes regarding such actions of terrorist organizations. We gave them a stern warning,” Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.
Although the minister did not specifically mention which demonstrations had prompted Ankara’s response, it seems likely that he was referring to the Long Marches currently being held by Kurdish Youth movements in Germany, France, Greece, England, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The marches, which kicked off on Sunday and are expected to last for several days, are being held in protest at the Turkey’s invasion and “genocidal attacks” against militants in Syria and Iraq.
The foreign minister’s comments came as he was explaining why Turkey continues to oppose Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO, reiterating Ankara’s position that it will not agree to the Nordic countries’ membership until they meet Turkey’s demands of halting all support for terrorist groups.