Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would “open the doors” for 3.6 million refugees
currently in Turkey to seek shelter in Europe, should his country come under
Erdogan’s threats on Thursday came a day after Turkish troops began a major incursion into northeastern Syria, drawing criticism from the U.S., many European nations and Arab states.
The cross-border military offensive, code-named “Peace Spring,” resulted in deaths of hundreds of “terrorists” since it began on Wednesday, according to Turkey’s military. The operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish militant groups and Islamic State started three days after President Donald Trump said U.S. troops in the area wouldn’t stand in the way.
Erdogan delivered a warning to European nations against calling his Syria campaign an “invasion” a day after Turkish troops began their advance across the border.U.S. senators including Lindsey Graham, a key Trump ally, slammed the incursion and threatened to punish Ankara.Trump floated the idea of mediating between Turkey and Kurdish militants.Seven civilians have been killed on the Turkish side as a result of shelling from areas held by Kurdish militants in Syria. Turkey’s military says it killed hundreds of “terrorists” in the meantime.Turkish state banks have been trying to buoy the currency amid a rout in the nation’s markets. The lira was trading 0.1% weaker at 8:34 a.m. in Istanbul on Friday, after a 0.6% advance on Thursday.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said 277 fighters of the Kurdish militant group YPG have been killed since the operation began, a claim that was impossible to verify independently. The ministry said a Turkish soldier was also killed during clashes.