President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has praised the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a “turning point in our joint fight against terrorism.”
“The killing of Daesh’s ringleader marks a turning point in our joint fight against terrorism. Turkey will continue to support anti-terror efforts — as it has done in the past,” Erdoğan tweeted on Oct. 27, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
Baghdadi was killed in an overnight raid by the U.S. in Syria’s Idlib on Oct. 26, U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Oct. 27.
In another tweet, Erdoğan said that Turkey “paid the dearest price” in the fight against ISIS, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliate People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“Having paid the dearest price in the fight against Daesh, PKK/YPG, and other terrorist organizations, Turkey welcomes this development. I am confident that a decisive struggle against terrorism, in line with the spirit of alliance, will bring peace to all of humanity,” he said.
Turkey has been battling the PKK for over 35 years and has recently carried out a cross-border operation in northern Syria to clear its border from YPG militants.
Ankara, Washington and the European Union designate the PKK as a terrorist organization.
In his speech, Trump expressed his gratitude to several countries, including Turkey, for their support in the raid that led to the killing of Baghdadi.
“I want to thank the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. And I also want to thank the Syrian Kurds for certain support they were able to give us. This was a very, very dangerous mission,” Trump told reporters, referring to YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Upon a question regarding Turkey’s role in the military operation, Trump said “Turkey — we dealt with them. They know we were going in. We flew over some territory. They were terrific. No problem.”
“They were not problem. You know, they could start shooting, and then we will take them out. But a lot of bad things can happen. Plus, it was a very secret mission. We flew very, very low and very, very fast. But it was a big — it was a very dangerous part of the mission,” Trump said.
“Getting in and getting out too, equal. We went in identical — we took an identical route. We met with gunfire coming in, but it was local gunfire. That gunfire was immediately terminated. These people are amazing. They had the gunfire terminated immediately, meaning they were shot from the airships,” he added.