SIRNAK, Turkey

Turkey will continue anti-terror operations with getting them “intensified,” the nation’s defense minister said on Saturday.

“Until when? Until the last terrorist is neutralized. Thus, we will save our noble nation from the terror scourge that has been going on for many years and we will ensure security,” Hulusi Akar said.

He addressed the Turkish commanders on the borderline and beyond via video link during his visit to the southeastern Sirnak province bordering Iraq with Turkish generals.

“It will contribute not only to our security, but also to the security of Iraq, our friendly and brotherly country, so it will enable the peace and security to arrive at the region quickly,” Akar added.

“We are waiting for what is needed to be done to neutralize them as soon as possible,” he said, referring to terrorists in Sinjar and Makhmur, northern Iraq.

Akar said Turkey is coordinating with Iraq on this issue and it already expressed readiness for cooperation.

“We believe that our Iraqi neighbors will do whatever is necessary in this regard and we are following this closely,” he added.

The Sinjar deal, inked under the auspices of the UN in October last year between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) on the status of the region, seeks to clear the region of the PKK terrorists.

The PKK terror group managed to establish a foothold in Sinjar in 2014 under the pretext of protecting the Ezidi community from Daesh/ISIS terrorists.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

Greece escalates tension

On relations with Greece, Akar said: “We continue to carry out our extremely reasonable and logical policies without any problems and in full speed.”

“Despite our constructive, positive, peaceful, and negotiable attitude, unfortunately, the provocative actions of our Greek neighbors continue,” he said, blaming Greece for escalating the tension in the region.

Tensions have been running high for months in the Eastern Mediterranean as Greece has disputed Turkey’s rights to energy exploration.

Turkey — the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean — sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, asserting its rights in the region as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Greece has made maximalist maritime territorial boundary claims based on small islands just kilometers off the Turkish coast. To reduce tensions, Ankara has called for dialogue and negotiations to ensure fair sharing of the region’s resources.

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