News 10 september — 15:59

Erdogan: Turkey not able to handle new wave of migration from Syria


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated Tuesday that Ankara's safe zone plan is crucial for Turkey both due to security concerns and to protect its welfare, urging Washington to stand with its NATO ally in its efforts, Daily Sabah reports.

"It's not possible for Turkey to handle a new wave of migration from Syria," Erdoğan said in his televised address at the Beştepe Presidential Palace Complex in Ankara after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and the accompanying delegation, who are in Turkey for a five-day working visit.

"Currently, the biggest obstacles before the return of migrants are terrorist groups such as the PKK and its affiliate the [People's Protection Forces] YPG," the president said, referring to the biggest group inside the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), currently occupying one-third of Syrian territory in the north and northeast.

"This structure, which is carrying out ethnic cleansing, forcing the peoples of the region to migrate and threatening Turkish citizens' safety of life and property, must absolutely be removed from being an element of threat," Erdoğan said.

"Sending up to 50,000 truckloads of equipment and ammunition to terrorist groups is seriously bothering us," he added.

Erdoğan previously criticized the U.S. for trying to straddle both Turkey and the PKK, accusing Washington of "willing to establish a safe zone for the terrorist group."

"If the safe zone in the east of Euphrates with our own soldiers will not be established by the end of September, we will have no choice but to go about it our own way," the president warned in Saturday's address in the eastern province of Malatya.

"This is not something to be completed in three or five helicopter flights, five or ten vehicle patrols; the presence of a couple of soldiers in the region are only for show. We must bring the whole region with its cities and rural areas to a safe status to settle one million people there," Erdoğan said.

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