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Turkey Will Not Leave Syria Until It Holds Elections, Erdogan Says

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey’s military presence in Syria will continue until the people hold their own elections, in a keynote speech at the two-day TRT World Forum entitled “Envisioning Peace and Security in a Fragmented World,” hosted by the Turkish public broadcaster TRT in Istanbul.

During his speech, Erdogan accused the United States government of sending 19 thousand trucks full of arms and ammunition to the terrorist organizations in Syria.

“Whenever the Syrian people hold their elections, we will leave Syria to its owners and abandon the country, after that,” the president continued.

Erdogan also criticized the United Nations (U.N.), saying that the U.N. is “still failing to meet the need for justice”, in response to a question from a reporter.

“The era of five permanent U.N. members is over. Why? Those were the circumstances of the Second World War; we are no longer living under the same circumstances. It is now time for a new transformation, a new change,” he said.

Referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the president said that the issue is far from being solved with the help of the U.N., asserting that none of the U.N. resolutions adopted against Israel are applicable, as no sanctions are imposed on the country for not complying with the resolutions. According to Erdogan, even one of the five permanent U.N. members is able block the process by voting negative.

The president suggested that all 193 member states take turns at holding the permanent member status.

Also touching on Thursday’s bomb attack in the southeastern province of Batman that killed seven soldiers, Erdogan vowed that Turkey will keep fighting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorism. “We will kill seven hundred of them in response to our seven martyrs,” he said.

The annual international meeting was attended by over 600 people, including Staffan de Mistura, the UN secretary-general’s special envoy to Syria, Jordan’s Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, Francesco Rocca, the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Italy’s former foreign minister Franco Frattini.

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