Türkiye willing to take joint counterterrorism steps with Syria, Russia

Türkiye on Thursday expressed willingness to collaborate with Syria and Russia in its counterterror efforts, News.az reports.

"Currently, we want to take a step with Syria and Russia, as a trio. For this, first, our intelligence organizations should come together, then our defense ministers and, then our foreign ministers should meet," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters aboard the presidential plane returning from his Turkmenistan trip.

Saying that leaders of Türkiye, Russia, and Syria could also meet for talks after the meeting of intelligence, defense, and foreign officials, Erdogan said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin welcomed this proposal in their latest phone talk.

Emphasizing that the terror organization is active in Syria, especially in its northern parts, Erdogan said his country will take matters into its own hands if countries like the US continue to provide "thousands of truck-loads" of weapons, ammunition, tools and equipment to terrorists in Syria.

Asked about former US envoy to Syria James Jeffrey's disapproving remarks about Türkiye's possible talks with the Bashar al-Assad regime, Erdogan said he does not need anyone's permission to hold talks with his interlocutors.

"Our national interests will be decisive in steps to take on the Syria matter," he added.

The Turkish president also lashed out at EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell's latest remarks targeting Türkiye over its ties with Russia and urging it to join EU's sanctions against Moscow.

"I do not take Borrell as my interlocutor. He can only be Mr. (Turkish Foreign Minister) Mevlut's (Cavusoglu) interlocutor," Erdogan said while describing Borrell's remarks as "ugly."

"In other words, Borrell cannot appoint or regulate our relations with Russia. He has neither the quality nor the capacity to make such a decision on these matters. It was a repulsive comment," he added.

Noting that Türkiye's relations with Russia cannot be evaluated in the scope of sanctions, Erdogan asked Borrell "Where does 44% of the grain that Europe currently pulls come from? It comes from the Black Sea. Who is the mediator? Türkiye. Any thanks for that? No."

Asked about Germany's measures against the bizarre coup plot by right-wing extremists, Erdogan welcomed the measures and said shedding light on the process within the rule of law is essential.

"It is my people, my country, who will best understand the feeling in Germany against the coup plans. Unfortunately, I cannot say that we see the same sympathy and understanding from our friend and ally Germany," he said.

Reiterating that Germany should have empathy with Türkiye, the Turkish president said: "Currently, the terror organization's most important hideout in Europe is Germany."

"Where are the PKK/YPG/PYD right now? There (in Germany). Where is FETO? There (in Germany). We want these (to be extradited), but they have no desire to hand over them. Now, of course, terror has come and knocked on their door as well," he said.

Türkiye has long called on its NATO ally Germany to take stronger action against the PKK and its Syrian affiliate the YPG, stressing that these terror groups use Germany as a platform for their fund-raising, propaganda, and recruitment activities.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

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