Turkey ‘thwarted’ plans of terror groups: Official

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ANTALYA, Turkey

Turkey’s recent successful anti-terror operations at home and abroad inflicted heavy damage on terror groups, especially in Syria and Iraq, that are seeking to take advantage of a power vacuum in the region, the Turkish parliament speaker said on Friday.

“Terrorist organizations were trying to use the administrative vacuum in Syria and Iraq and settle [there], near Turkish borders. With its cross-border operations, Turkey thwarted this,” Mustafa Sentop said in an interview with Anadolu Agency following the Fourth Conference of Speakers of Parliament, which focused on counter-terrorism and strengthening of regional connectivity, held in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya.

According to Sentop, Turkey’s counter-terrorism efforts bore fruit and the operational capabilities of terror organizations in Turkey had been almost completely eradicated, with cross-border military campaigns eliminating the possibility of an “artificial terror state” in Syria.

Additionally, operations in northern Iraq severely diminished terror groups there as they no longer roam freely in the region, Sentop said.

The Turkish official went on to say that another major issue related to the terrorism was that “some countries” provided support to terrorist organizations.

Stressing that such connections between terror groups and countries must be cut, Sentop said Turkey has been trying to persuade such states to turn course, while also maintaining efforts to expose their behavior.

The next conference is expected to be held in Russia next year. The participants this year included China, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey.

Sentop underlined that its participants were in “wide consensus” on the conference declaration, adding that the tally of participant countries might rise in the future as Iraq and Qatar had already been invited to take part and Russia suggested the inclusion of some Turkic countries in Central Asia.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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