Turkish president: Ground operation necessary to stop ISIL
Airstrikes alone would not stop ISIL unless accompanied with a ground operation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, Anadolu Agency reported.
The president's remarks came on Saturday at the fourth Turkish-British Tatli Dil Forum, an annual meeting which was inaugurated between the governments of Britain and Turkey at the prime minister level in 2011.
The event, which brings together senior figures from politics and business world as well as scholars and artists, aims at "strengthening and institutionalizing the civil dialogue" between Turkey and the United Kingdom, Turkey's U.K. embassy says.
"ISIL has currently 40 percent of Iraq under control. We have a similar situation in Syria as well. Airstrikes are not enough to stop this occupation," Erdogan said, adding that a ground operation was in order.
Erdogan also stressed the significance of establishing no-fly and safe zones in both Iraq and Syria to "get results," in addition to training and equipping forces fighting against the terrorist group.
"We cannot consider them [Iraq and Syria] apart if we want to succeed against terror; and take care of the (Bashar) Assad regime which conducts state terrorism," he said.
Erdogan also urged the U.N. Security Council and the international community to take more responsibility in stopping the ongoing bloodshed and preventing more humanitarian tragedies.
"The instability and conflict in the region affects the whole world. ISIL is not only a regional threat; it is also a threat against global security and stability," he said.
"Turkey is determined to fight against this threat, and we expect the same determination from the international community", Erdogan said.