Turkey is the only country in Syria for humanitarian reasons, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.
“I am explicitly saying Turkey is the only country that is in Syria for humanitarian purposes,” Erdogan said at a presentation ceremony of the Turkish Military Academy in the capital Ankara.
Erdogan said Turkey has no intention to “occupy” Syria, but it has tried to ensure the security of its people.
Turkey ranks number one when it comes to providing humanitarian aid in proportion to its national income, he added.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.
Fight against FETO terror group
The president said Turkey’s fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt, resolutely continues under the law.
He added that relaxation or hesitation in the fight against the FETO was out of question.
“Without making any distinction, we are against all coup attempts anywhere in the world,” Erdogan said.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.