Syrian operation is to clear Daesh, says Turkish FM

– The aim of Turkey’s Syria military operation is to clear Daesh from the southern border, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday, reported Anadolu Agency.

Speaking at a news conference in Ankara alongside his Estonian counterpart Marina Kaljurand, Cavusoglu said the terror group targeted the country because Turkey “is one of the most decisive countries in the fight against Daesh”.

Cavusoglu’s remarks came as Turkish tanks crossed the border into northern Syria as part of operations to clear Daesh terrorists from the city of Jarabulus.

This ground intervention followed Turkey’s shelling of northern Syria, hitting 81 targets almost 300 times from 4.00 a.m. (0230 GMT) early Wednesday.

Cavusoglu said the Turkish Armed Forces’ activities were continuing “without a hitch”, adding: “We are working together with the coalition regarding air support.”

Turkish officials are blaming Daesh for Saturday’s deadly blast at a wedding ceremony in southeastern province of Gaziantep which left 54 people dead.

Wednesday’s anti-Daesh operation, called Euphrates Shield, aims to support U.S.-led coalition forces, strengthen Turkey’s border security by clearing away terrorist groups and maintain Syria’s territorial integrity.

Cavusoglu also said the YPG – the military wing of the PYD terrorist group – must return to east of the Euphrates River, adding: “The U.S. also supports this. Otherwise, I am saying very clearly that we will do what is necessary.”

– July 15 coup bid

Cavusoglu said there was weak support coming from the European Union countries following the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.

He said Turkey wanted to see support instead of “heavy criticisms and threats”.

“We tried to explain how the Fetullah Terrorist Organization [FETO] is a dangerous terrorist organization. But some for reason our European friends did not want to believe us,” Cavusoglu said.

Kaljurand said: “Estonia is also the member of the coalition and we have one target: terrorism. We support all the actions undertaken by Turkey and undertaken by other allies.”

She added: “Once again we reaffirmed solidarity of my country and also the Council of Europe to Turkey and the democratically elected institutions and authorities of Turkey.

“There is no excuse for any coup. Those perpetrators have to be brought to justice. There is no question about that.”

Kaljurand added the EU is a “close partner” of Turkey. “We need each other. We are partners and we have to cooperate. Estonia has always supported Turkey’s integration with the EU,” she said.

Turkey blames followers of Fetullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, and his FETO network for attempting to bring down the elected Turkish government.