Turkey 'does not need permission to fight terrorists'
Foreign Ministry spokesman says anti-PKK operations launched in name of self-defense

Turkey's recent military operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are an exercise of the right to self-defense, Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic has said.

Bilgic made the remarks at a press conference in capital Ankara on Friday in response to a question about U.S. President Barack Obama's Wednesday remarks that the focus should remain on Daesh.

Noting that Obama admitted that "to the extent the PKK engages in attacks against Turkish targets, it is legitimate for Turks to try to defend themselves,” Bilgic underlined Turkey's determination to fight against all forms of terror.

"Both the U.S. and Turkey list the PKK as a terrorist organization. It is not right to distinguish among terrorist groups. Many leaders, including UN Secretary-General [Ban Ki-moon], have said that Turkey's operations against the PKK in particular are an exercise of the right to self-defense," he said, adding that Turkey is determined to continue fighting against all forms of terror, and "it does not need to get permission from anybody while doing this".

As far as Russia's new plan for Syria is concerned, Bilgic said Turkey is already an active member of the international coalition against Daesh, and "there is no other method or plan on our agenda to fight against it".

Russia recently proposed a new plan to fight the militant group, which includes forming a new international coalition of Syrian regime forces and opposition groups, including Kurds and neighboring countries.

The rationale behind the plan, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, is the inefficiency of anti-Daesh airstrikes. He also claimed possible airstrikes against the regime launched to protect opposition groups would undermine the fight against Daesh.

Bilgic said in addition to the U.S., other members of the current international coalition could also use Turkish military bases to launch airstrikes against Daesh, "when deemed necessary, and with the joint agreement of Turkey and the U.S.".

Turkey recently opened the southern Incirlik Air Base for expanded operations against the militant group, with the first American drone striking Daesh targets in Syria on Wednesday.

Last Modified: 2015-08-08 08:09:39
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