In an address from Istanbul’s Marmara University, Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated the necessity of forming a no-fly zone and a safe zone in Syria, along with continuing the U.S.-led international airstrikes on ISIL targets in Syria’s north.
ISIL is currently advancing on the town of Ayn al-Arab, or Kobani in Kurdish, resulting in the fleeing of around 200,000 Syrian Kurds into Turkey over the last three weeks. Armed groups of an offshoot of Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, are continuing their fight against ISIL, outmatching in numbers and technological capacities.
“Syria has many Kobanis. What will happen to Aleppo, Latakia, Turkmen and other people after saving Kobani? Assad regime should be the target for a real solution in Syria,” Erdogan said, reminding that the regime is responsible for the killing of 250,000 people in Syria.
“A no-fly zone and a safe zone should be built. So we could be able to place the Syrians inside our country at these safe havens,” he said.
“Also the moderates should be trained and equipped either in Turkey or inside those safe zones, so they could be able to conduct their war against the regime.”
He also criticized PKK’s claims the Turkish government was doing nothing to halt the advance of the ISIL in Kobani, which sparked last week’s protests which killed 34.
He also criticized the leftist People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, for its call to the people to take out to the streets in support for Kobani.
Erdogan said “the artifically-made” borders in the Middle East drawn by the imperial powers right after the end of World War I are the real cause of long-term pain and crisis in the region.
Saying that “there should be no borders between Middle Eastern countries in the minds and hearts of the people,” Erdogan noted that Turkey should do its own part in fighting with sectarianism, ethnicism and all other divisions in the Middle East.
“Turkey is the only country that could provide peace in that region. Turkey is the hope of the Middle Eastern people. Turkey can remove the barriers between Middle Eastern people not by changing physical borders, but by instilling hope and trust,” he said.