Nobody can stop Türkiye from exercising its right to preserve its safety, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared late Sunday at a meeting in Istanbul, reports TurkicWorld with the reference to Daily Sabah.
“Türkiye has the right to every kind of disposition in every area it has determined both outside and inside its borders for its own security and nobody can prevent us from using this right,” Erdoğan underscored, referring to the cross-border operations the country has launched against terrorist elements in northern Iraq and Syria.
“If each of us doesn’t properly fulfill our duties in this environment, we will be humbled before history and generations to come,” the president noted.
Türkiye started Operation Claw-Lock in April to target the PKK terror organization's hideouts in the Metina, Zap and Avasin-Basyan regions of northern Iraq, located near the Turkish border.
The Turkish security forces eliminated 13 more PKK terrorists over the past two days as part of the operation. The country’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar also reported on Sunday after two Turkish soldiers were killed and three others were injured on Saturday in the Zap region.
The operation was launched by Turkish commandos against terrorists attempting to escape from the region after Saturday’s attack, the minister said at a videoconference meeting with the commanders of the units participating in the Operation Claw-Lock.
"Among the eliminated terrorists are the traitors who carried out the attack," Akar informed.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan confirmed on Sunday that 480 terrorists in total have been eliminated since the beginning of Operation Claw-Lock.
Operation Claw-Lock was preceded by Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle that kick-started in 2020 to root out terrorists hiding out across the Turkish border.
Recently, Ankara launched Operation Claw-Sword, another cross-border aerial campaign against the PKK/YPG’s illegal hideouts in northern Iraq and Syria from where it plans and sometimes executes attacks on Turkish soil. The counteroffensive followed the Nov. 13 terrorist attack on Istanbul’s bustling Istiklal Street that killed six and injured 81 people.
The terrorist group retaliated against the operation hours later by targeting residential areas in Türkiye’s southeast, killing at least two and injuring six others in a series of rocket attacks in the Gaziantep province.
The same week, Erdoğan vowed Türkiye was “more determined than ever” to secure its Syrian border from PKK/YPG attacks and insisted that a ground operation would start “at the most convenient time.”
In its over 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the U.S. and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.