Threats against Turkey remain, defense minister says

End of Operation Euphrates Shield does not mean threats against Turkey are completely over, Fikri Isik says

The end of Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria does not mean threats are over, Defense Minister Fikri Isik said Friday.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced that the Turkey-led Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in August last year to eliminate Daesh presence in northern Syria, had come to an end.

Speaking to reporters in the eastern Black Sea province of Gumushane, Isik said: “When the need arises and a threat occurs against Turkey’s security, Turkey will not hesitate to conduct other operations in order to eliminate this threat.”

“Therefore, the end of Operation Euphrates Shield does not mean the threats against Turkey are completely over…,” he said.

Launched in late August last year, and carried out by the support of Free Syrian Army fighters, the operation aimed to improve security, support coalition forces and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border.

Isik said the operation had cleared 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles) area of Daesh, adding that the PKK/PYD’s “dream of merging cantons” in northern Syria had been shattered.

The PYD is the Syrian offshoot of PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU.

The minister added Turkey would continue to do whatever is necessary to ensure the region remains stable and free of terror.

“As you know, the main goal of Euphrates Shield was to ensure permanent stability in the region, to prevent terrorist elements from establishing total dominion, and to enable local residents to return to their homes and live there safely.

“The operation is over, but what needs to be done will continue to be done,” he added.