Türkiye taking steps for security zone on border: President Erdogan

Turkish president says 30 km security zone south of Turkish border meant to protect nation from YPG/PKK terrorist threat.

Türkiye taking steps for security zone on border: President Erdogan

Türkiye is taking steps to establish a 30 kilometer (18.7 miles) security zone south of its border with Syria against the threat posed by the PKK/YPG terror group, the country's president said on Saturday.

"Our security area comprises of the area 30 kilometers inwards from the border to our south. We don't want to be disturbed in this security area," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the 30th consultation and evaluation meeting of the Justice and Development (AK) Party in the capital Ankara.

Erdogan said that with the operations Türkiye has carried out in recent years in northern Syria and Iraq, the country "shattered the terror corridor that is being attempted to be created on our southern border."

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people. The YPG/PYD is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.

Erdogan also reiterated his country's stance on the bids by Finland and Sweden to join NATO, saying: "The whole world should know this. NATO countries should know first that NATO is not an organization that will provide terrorist security."

"I speak frankly and clearly about Sweden and Finland. I spoke to the NATO secretary-general yesterday, as well," he added.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO on May 18, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups such as the YPG/PKK and FETO, the group responsible for a failed 2016 coup in Türkiye.

Their accession requires unanimous approval from all 30 NATO member states.

Hüseyin Demir

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