MESOP : ALL AROUND ERDOGAN – THE SITUATION TODAY / A 24 HOUR SAMPLER
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan boasted that Turkish forces have killed 3,000 Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq and claimed no other nation is fighting the terrorist group like Turkey. Earlier this week, Turkey confirmed that it has been sending commandos into Syria on reconnaissance missions, and it has been engaging Islamic State forces along the border, especially near the town of Kilis, which has repeatedly been shelled by terrorists from the Syria side of the border.
Erdogan’s comments come as he is trying to reassert his leadership and put constitutional reform back on the agenda after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced his intention to resign last week. “No one has the right to turn Turkey into a country of lions condemned to a vegetarian diet,” he said yesterday, describing the strength of the government under a new presidential system.
Turkey is facing growing international criticism for its conduct toward Syrian refugees and in its fight against Kurdish insurgency. Human Rights Watch has released a new report identifying instances of border guards shooting or beating refugees as they approached the Turkish border. The U.N. high commissioner for human rights also raised concerns about Turkish operations in the Kurdish southeast this week, calling for an independent investigation to follow up on reports that civilians were deliberately targeted. The Turkish government responded by saying that the U.N. preliminary findings are biased and that Turkey took all necessary precautions.