ADDS ERDOGAN’S REMARKS AT TURKEN FOUNDATION
By Dildar Baykan
NEW YORK (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Turkey would continue to increase the number of safe zones within Syria to include the east of the Euphrates River.
In his address to Turkish and Muslim communities in New York, organized by Turkish American National Steering Committee, Erdogan said Turkey's struggle will continue until the terror threat against it ends and it would eradicate terror gangs that aim at Syria's future.
In a speech later at the TURKEN foundation, Erdogan said the Turkish military cleared a 2,500 square mile (4,000 square kilometer) area from Daesh and YPG-PKK terrorists as part of Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in Syria.
Stating that Ankara turned the areas into safe ones for the Syrian people, Erdogan said: "We will take similar steps east of the Euphrates."
Turning to Jerusalem, Erdogan vowed to safeguard the city against invaders.
"We will not abandon Jerusalem, our first qıblah [Islamic direction of prayer] to invaders and those who perform state terror on Palestinians," he said.
Turkey will continue its struggle against the U.S. and Israeli governments' breaches of the holy city at the "highest-level" in diplomacy, he said.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping East Jerusalem, now occupied by Israel, might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.
The Turkish president also criticized the UN Security Council for serving the interests of “certain powers” rather than working to ensure global peace and stability.
Erdogan is in New York for the UN General Assembly where he will address members later this week.