On February 29, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came with a new group of claims on the situation in Syria’s Idlib and Turkish agressive actions in the region.
Erdogan claimed that the operation in Idlib is not a gamble and is not an attempt to expand Turkish border. The Turkish President added that Turkish forces entered the region under a request from the “Syrian people” (i.e. al-Qaeda terrorists that use civilians as human shields) and Turkey will not leave the area until the “people” request this (i.e. Turkey wants to occupy the region).
Erdogan said that he told President Vladimir Putin that Russia must leave Turkey with the “regime” (the legal Syrian government) one on one.
On top of that the Turkish president claimed that Turkish forces killed over 2,100 Syrian troops, destroyed 300 pieces of military equipment and 7 chemical depots. If these numbers are close to the reality, it reamsin unclear how the Syrian Army continues advancing in southern Idlib, while all Turkish successes were limited to capturing Saraqib and losing a few dozens of troops.
The Turkish president statement also adressed the current situation with the EU migration crisis. Erdogan officially confirmed that Turkey is now intentionally sending refugees to Europe.
“What did we do yesterday? We opened the doors,” Erdogan said. “We will not close those doors … Why? Because the European Union should keep its promises.”
The Turkish leader said 18,000 refugees had gathered on the Turkish borders with Europe since February 28, adding that the number could reach as many as 30,000 on February 29. The Erdogan government is as always trying to blackmail the EU in an attempt to get from it financial and diplomatic support to Turkish actions in the Middle East. Apparently, Erdogan has his own specific vision of how his country should win friends and influence the international community.
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