Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Sunday to launch a new offensive against Kurdish militants along the country’s borders with Syria and Iraq.
Turkey has conducted two previous operations aimed at Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, militants Ankara considers an extension of Kurdish fighters the Turkish government has been clashing with for three decades for control of southeastern Turkey.
In an address to thousands of supporters in Istanbul in advance of June’s snap election, Erdogan said, “We will not give up on constricting terrorist organizations. In the new period, Turkey will add new ones to the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in order to clear its borders.”
He added, “We shattered the terror corridor being formed on our southern border with these operations. Our soldiers, who lastly wrote an epic in Afrin, are ready for new missions. The operations will continue until not one terrorist is left.”
Erdogan called for the June 24 election more than a year ahead of the planned vote, which analysts say was designed to capitalize on nationalist sentiment running in favor of the successful military operation in the Syrian border town of Afrin.
With the election, Turkey is transforming its governing system to an executive presidency, abolishing the position of prime minister and vesting the ruling power in the presidency.
Erdogan said that with the presidential and parliamentary votes, Turkey would “take the stage as a global power.”