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US State Department Spokesman: Turkey's response to refugees, ISIS above expectations

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Turkey’s response to the nearly two million refugees that have crossed its border from Syria and ISIS terrorists is ‘above and beyond,’ the State Department said Monday.

“Turkey, in terms of combating ISIS and dealing with the inflow of Syria refugees, has been above and beyond what we might expect,” spokesman Mark Toner told reporters, adding that Turkey is “doing all it can” to combat ISIS.

The Turkish Air Force launched attacks late Friday on ISIS positions considered a threat to Turkey – the first such airstrikes as part of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition.

Regarding Ankara’s ongoing campaign against the PKK, Toner said, “All of Turkey’s strikes against PKK targets have been in response to PKK attacks on Turkish military personnel and police.”

“We want to see the PKK stop its attacks. We want to see both sides refrain from violence, and we want to see a return to a solution process that ultimately ends in peace,” he added.

Turkey has been hit by violence since a suicide bomb attack by a suspected ISIS supporter killed 32 activists in Suruç on July 20.

The Turkish government has intensified its counterterror operations following the recent attacks carried out by the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S., the EU and Turkey.

Formed in 1978, the terrorist group has been fighting the Turkish government for an independent state until the early 2000’s. The group then shifted its goal to autonomy in predominately Kurdish inhabited regions of Turkey.

The PKK announced on July 11 that the cease-fire which was declared via a message from the PKK’s imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan in 2013 has ended.

Turkish security forces have arrested hundreds of people with suspected links to ISIS, the PKK, and leftist groups, detaining over 1,300 people across the country, according to a recent statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Turkish Air Force has been carrying airstrikes against the PKK in northern Iraq and the ISIS militants in northern Syria.

According to military sources, over 900 terrorists were killed in Turkey’s airstrikes against PKK’s hideouts and camps in northern Iraq.

Resource: Daily Sabah, September 01, 2015

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