Recent terrorist attacks targeting Turkish cities are parts of an attempt to pull Türkiye back into the grip of global instability, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said Friday.
Soylu addressed the Parliament in the capital Ankara during the ministry’s planning and budget committee talks. “The attacks in Mersin and Istiklal Street in the last two months are an attempt to pull Türkiye back into the grip of global instability, especially as the election of the century approaches,” he said.
Soylu said that both terror attacks were carried out by terrorists that came from northern Syria’s Manbij. He also stated that Turkish security forces prevented 18 potential suicide bombings this year.
The minister criticized the United States for ushering in instability in many countries in the near geography: “The U.S. was supposed to bring peace and democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan. All they left behind was destruction, terrorism, instability, an annual production of 9,000 tons of opium and people falling from airplane wheels. With the embargo they have been applying for years, they isolated Iran and cut it off from the world. The U.S. is setting up its account with China through Taiwan, its account with the Balkans through Greece and its account with the Middle East through the PKK/YPG.”
Calling the Istiklal Street attack one of the PKK’s civilian massacres, Soylu said: “We found the perpetrators. Now we decipher the entire structure behind it.”
Soylu previously said Türkiye will not accept the condolences issued by the U.S. over the terrorist attack that claimed at least six lives on Istanbul’s Istiklal Street last week. His remarks followed statements by Turkish officials lashing out at those who support terrorist groups, including the PKK and its Syrian wing, the YPG, the culprit behind the attack. Ankara in the past has accused the U.S. of supplying weapons and training to the terrorist group in northern Syria.
The YPG has controlled much of northeastern Syria after the forces of Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad withdrew in 2012. The PKK is a designated terrorist organization in the U.S., Türkiye and the European Union and Washington’s support for its Syrian affiliate has been a major strain on bilateral relations with Ankara. The U.S. primarily partnered with the YPG in northeastern Syria in its fight against the Daesh terrorist group. On the other hand, Türkiye strongly opposed the YPG’s presence in northern Syria. Ankara has long objected to the U.S.’ support for the YPG, a group that poses a threat to Türkiye and that terrorizes local people, destroying their homes and forcing them to flee.
Under the pretext of fighting Daesh, the U.S. has provided military training and given truckloads of military support to the YPG, despite its NATO ally’s security concerns. Underlining that one cannot support one terrorist group to defeat another, Türkiye conducted its counterterrorism operations, throughout which it has managed to remove a significant number of terrorists from the region.
Türkiye is ready to rid northern Syria’s Tal Rifaat and Manbij areas, near the Turkish border, of terrorist elements in a bid to eliminate the terror threat from the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier this year.
“We are taking another step in establishing a 30-kilometer security zone along our southern border. We will clean up Tal Rifaat and Manbij”, he said adding that the planned military operations will gradually continue in other parts of northern Syria.
Soylu also provided an update on the ongoing “counterterrorism” struggles, saying that terrorism has been pushed to the bottom of the country’s agenda for the first time in the last six years.
“For the first time, Tendürek and Amanos have been completely cleared of terrorists. The Black Sea was cleared of terrorists.”
Underlining that there is an intense struggle against terrorism, Soylu continued as follows: “While we were fighting this struggle, we never compromised on the Constitution, law, democracy, human rights and established state principles. It is not an easy thing to fight this struggle without leaving the law and democracy. Only in the last three years, $2 billion have been given to the PKK/YPG from the U.S. Senate. While all this was going on, participation in the organization fell below 100 in three years for the first time in 30 years. Again, in the last three years, the number of those who surrendered exceeded the number of participants.”
“This struggle will continue until the terrorist organizations are cleared. With the help of God, there will not be a single terrorist left in our mountains on Oct. 29, 2023, thanks to our struggle,” he added.