Turkey has a duty to defeat the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in neighboring Syria and to wipe the PKK threat, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said during his Eid al-Adha televised message on Sunday.
Turkey’s army and its Syrian rebel allies in an offensive launched on Aug. 24 that aims to sweep away ISIS militants and Syrian Kurdish militias from the border region.
Mr. Erdogan called it a “binding duty”, to ensure the militants were “unable to carry out actions inside our country”.
Turkey’s military said its warplanes killed 20 ISIS fighters during air raids over Syria on Saturday.
Mr Erdogan said in a statement that the current Turkish military operation in Syria, known as Operation Euphrates shield, was just a “first step” in the fight against IS, which he calls Daesh.
“It is our duty to our people to finish off Daesh in Syria, and to bring them to a level where they can’t carry out attacks in our country,” he said.
In the same statement, he said Turkey was also determined to defeat the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Feto group of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Mr Erdogan has accused Mr Gulen of masterminding a failed coup attempt in July.
“We see that the PKK terrorist organization has been trying to intensify its activities in our border areas after July 15. These attacks, which have the clear objective of disrupting Turkey’s Syria operation, are still ongoing.”
“We are determined to wipe out the PKK trouble from Turkey together with our security forces. Just like Feto, the PKK stands no change against our sagacious people and the power of our state.”
Turkey was stronger, more resolute and more dynamic than before coup attempt, Erdogan said.
“Those with malicious intentions must know that they will find a Turkey with an army of 570,000 and police forces of 260,000 and a nation of 79 million,” he said.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also gave an Eid message in which he pledged that traitors would not be able to damage Turkey’s unity.
“All dirty plots against Turkish unity are in vain,” he said. “No terror groups will be able to bring Turkey to its knees.”