President Tayyip Erdogan made clear on Monday that Turkey would not allow a “safe zone” that it is considering setting up in northern Syria to become a base for Kurdish separatists، according to Reuters.
Last week، following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision on Dec. 19 to withdraw all 2،000 U.S. troops from Syria، Erdogan said he and Trump had discussed Turkey setting up a 20-mile-deep safe zone inside Syria along the length of their border.
Erdogan said Turkey would work with anyone willing to provide it with logistics support for the zone، but that it would take action in Syria if promises were not kept.
“We will never allow a safe zone that will turn into a new swamp for Turkey like the one in Northern Iraq، where we still experience problems،” Erdogan said.
“We are not talking of a safe zone (as protection) against Turkey، but rather one against terrorists.”
Turkish planes regularly attack bases in northern Iraq belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)، which has been fighting for three decades for autonomy for southeast Turkey. It is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey، the United States and European Union.