Late last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced his intention to conduct military operations in the territories east of the Euphrates River. However, a week after that, the Turkish leader said he had postponed the operation, saying: “The statements of the American side have led us to think about the need to postpone the operation for some time.”
However, while speaking at the joint opening ceremony of a city hospital in Bursa and the Istanbul-Izmir highway recently, Erdoğan said the temporary delay he had granted the US was over, and military action would soon begin.
In his speech, Erdoğan emphasized that after over 17 years of being in power, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), through its social policies, investments and reforms, has turned Turkey into a sovereign country in the fullest sense of the word. According to Erdoğan, despite numerous threats, traps, provocations and blackmail, Turkey is firmly and confidently standing on its feet today.
Criticizing the chairman of the opposition Republican People’s Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Erdoğan said: “When we went over to destroy the source of threats to our country on Syrian territory, he tried to stop us, warning ‘don’t even consider entering the center of Afrin!’ We did not listen to him. We entered Afrin, Cerablus and al-Bab, and now we will enter the territory east of the Euphrates. We have notified Russia and America about this. As long as attacks from this region continue against our country, we cannot remain silent.”
“We were ready to endure up to a certain point, but our patience has an end,” Erdogan said, noting that the opposition’s silence in response to the numerous threats against Turkey regarding the purchase of Russian S-400 systems openly demonstrated support for the opposing side.
“In the fight against terrorism, we will not be left using nuts and seeds. Will this have consequences? Of course, but we have to go for it. Why? For the sake of peace and the well-being of our people. We are fighting, and will continue to fight against the PKK, the PYD, YPG, Daesh and FETO, ” Erdoğan continued.
PRECEDENT TO THE RECENT ANNOUNCEMENT
On December 12, 2018, President Erdoğan, speaking at a defense industry summit, announced that “a military operation against a terrorist organization east of the Euphrates would be launched in the next few days.”
In addition, in a statement on December 21, 2018, the Turkish leader announced the “postponement of operations east of the Euphrates.”
“The statements made by the American side during our telephone conversation with Mr. Trump led us to think about the need to postpone the operation for some time. Of course, we are talking about a temporary delay,” he noted.
“Of course, this is a temporary delay. In the coming months, we will carry out an operation to destroy the PKK / PYD elements and the remnants of Daesh in Syrian territory. The day before, we finally heard clear and inspiring statements from the American administration on this issue. However, let’s not forget traditional wisdom, ‘once bitten, twice shy’… based on our negative experiences in the past, we approach these statements with both satisfaction and caution,” Erdogan added.
Çavuşoğlu: Our patience has run out
In turn, on July 29, 2019, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu issued a warning to the United States regarding impending operations.
According to Çavuşoğlu, the US’ new proposals regarding the security zone did not satisfy Turkey. Stressing that the plans for the military operation were again on the agenda after the “insufficient” proposal, the Turkish minister said: “Trump asked – we postponed the operation… but now our patience has come to an end.”