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Türkiye to conduct ground operation against terrorists: Erdogan

Air Operation Claw-Sword was well-planned and a ground operation is also in the works, Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

Neutralising terrorists is a “must” for Türkiye, and “there’s no question” of it being limited to an air operation, Erdogan said on Monday, speaking to reporters on his way back from Qatar after visiting for the opening ceremony of the World Cup.

“Currently, there are terrorist organisations in our south that are planning many attacks or carrying out such attacks” that pose a threat to Türkiye, he added.

“As we have said before, if someone disturbs our country and our lands, we will make them pay,” Erdogan said.

Ankara had no talks with US or Russian leaders on Operation Claw-Sword, Erdogan added, saying that they “already know” Ankara can do such things in the region “at any time”.

READ MORE: Türkiye begins anti-terror raids in Iraq, Syria after Istanbul bombing

Carried out in self-defence

Türkiye launched Operation Claw-Sword, a new major anti-terror operation during the early hours of Sunday, a week after the PKK/YPG terror group carried out a deadly bombing in the country’s financial city Istanbul, killing six people and wounding more than 80. 

A total of 89 targets, including shelters, caves and ammunition depots belonging to terrorists were destroyed, the defence ministry announced on Sunday. 

About 70 combat and support aircraft and UAVs took part in the execution of Operation Claw-Sword, targeting the PKK/YPG terrorist group in Syria and northern Iraq, Erdogan said. 

The Ministry of National Defence said the new cross-border operation against the PKK/YPG in Iraq and Syria was carried out in self-defence in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter.

In its more than 35-year campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

READ MORE: Türkiye reports successful operation in northern Iraq, Syria

Meeting with Sisi

Erdogan also met with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al Sisi during the World Cup ceremony in Qatar.

Asked about the meeting, Erdogan said it was a step for the normalisation process between the two countries to begin.

“The unity of the Turkish nation and the Egyptian people in the past is very important to us. Why not a new start?” said the Turkish president, adding that Türkiye wanted to establish peace.

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