Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar went to Gaziantep by military plane on the last night of the year together with General Yaşar Güler, Chief of General Staff, General Ümit Dündar, Land Forces Commander, Admiral Adnan Özbal, Naval Forces Commander and General Hasan Küçükakyüz, Air Forces Commander. Minister Akar and the accompanying delegation are welcomed by Davut Gül, the Governor, Lieutenant General Sinan Yayla, and the 2nd Army Commander and by other officials and then departed for the Tomb of Suleyman Shah which was moved to the Esme village in Syria at the Turkish border.
Minister Akar and the Commanders received a briefing about the Tomb of Suleyman Shah. After visiting the emplacement sites around the Tomb, Akar had a conversation with the soldiers on duty and inspected the border line. In the end of visit Akar talked to our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the phone.
Referring to significance of the Tomb, “We had tough times in Jarabulus, in Afrin and more particularly in Suleyman Shah. However, after the transfer of Tomb a new era has started in Suleyman Shah. The Tomb of Suleyman Shah is now located on an average of 120 decare terrain, together with its surroundings, and I believe that, Suleyman Shah, which is identified with the history of Turkish Armed Forces, shall have a considerably different time course hereinafter, and shall be more important and guiding. It is especially entrusted to you and to us; hence we shall protect this trust till the end of time. Just as you wrote history in Jarabulus, in Afrin, the determination you displayed shall continue in the future process, as well. Many speculations occur and reoccur, do not bother about them at all. We are superior because we believe. We shall continue on our way without any concessions. I am convinced that your belief and faith in Islam shall lead to many other victories. I congratulate you. I believe that, you love each other for God’s sake and you always set your mind and heart on martyrdom which is the greatest prize for us. I strongly believe that, on the way we go ahead by confiding in this prize, our Rabb will grant victories to us” President Erdoğan said.
Minister Akar left the district after the inspections and talked with the kids who demonstrated love for him on the Turkish side of border and gave presents to them. Citizens also demonstrated love for Minister Akar and the commanders who had conversations with the Esme villagers.
Minister Akar and the commanders then departed for the Joint Special Task Force Command located in Kilis. After saluting the escort of honor Minister Akar gathered with the Turkish soldiers to have a meal together, and then held meetings with the commanders of units in the region at which he received information on the activities and gave instructions about the future tasks. Minister Akar, expressing his belief in accomplishment of the tasks assigned for the next year in the same serious spirit as it always has been, mentioned the fight against terrorism. Stating the importance of security of the country and nation, and protection of sovereignty and independence, Minister Akar said that; “Except for the small-scale operations, thousands of operations are being conducted by main battalions and brigades of our Turkish Armed Forces. In this regard, the total of operations we carried out last year is 147. In these quite large-scale 147 operations some very crucial activities were carried out by participation of hundreds of Armed Forces staff and of air forces command along with supporting ground vehicles. During these operations, again with a great success, 2 thousand 398 terrorists were neutralized. 2 thousand 398 terrorists were neutralized in 147 operations. It has been a notable success and source of great pride for us. Our air forces which accompanied our land forces has gained more and more strength as the traitors among us were swept away and successfully and effectively hit and destroyed 922 terrorist targets including the terrorists’ dugouts, shelters, ammunition depots, so-called headquarters, communications centers, the caves and the holes they hid themselves, by displaying an example of tremendous self-devotion and heroism in the activities they carried out.
Emphasizing the ultimate self-devotion of the Turkish Armed Forces’ staff to their homeland, nation, flag and republic while performing their tasks, Akar added that they all displayed tremendous self-sacrifice and heroism. Stating that some of the soldiers who were wounded during the Operations of Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch have rejected the sick leave given to them by implying that “We cannot go to home while our friends are on operation there”, Minister Akar said “This is an extremely important source of pride and honor for us, indeed”.
Minister Akar drawing the attention to the significant developments which are progressed around Turkey in the recent years, stated that these developments were closely followed. Minister Akar also emphasized that the Government of the Republic of Turkey is making great effort on the contrary to any other country against the instability, uncertainties and tragedies emerged in the region and touched upon the advancements achieved in Idlib. Minister Akar ,recalling the Memorandum of Understanding signed in the wake of the high level meetings between the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, said that “ The signing of this MoU has really enabled us to prevent a lot of tragedy since the very begining. “. Minister Akar emphasizing the establishment of a terrorist corridor in the South of Turkey and north of Syria shall not be allowed and he went on to say that:
“ Turkish Armed Forces and members of our security forces prevented the establishment of this terrorist corridor to a great extent which will not just endanger our country and people but also pose a risk for our country and nation with a great sacrifice and heroism. Trenches, ditches and emplacements are preapared and digged in some places . There is no doubt that, these trenches and pits dug by terrorists will become their graves in due course. We will continue our fight against DEAŞ. During her struggle against DEAŞ, Turkish Armed Forces assumed a task and responsibility as a result of the talks held between our President and Mr.Trump , we will fulfill our responsibility in an efficient way with a collaborative work in the following days. In addition to this, we will never accept any kind of terrorist presence in the north of Iraq. We are making great effort to neutralize them as soon as possible.”
Minister Akar reminding the air operation conducted to Sincar and Karacak Mountain regions by Air Forces Command said that:
“The activities of our Land Forces in certain regions of Northern Iraq are going on. We want everyone to know that our Air Forces will continue to shoot the determined targets . What is important for us is our respect for the political and territorial integrity of all our neighbours mainly Syria and Iraq. The operations we conducted is an obligation not a preference . It is deemed as an obligation for the security of our country and people. These are the activities conducted to neutralize the terrorists. If these terrorists are neutralized in any way and are not considered as a threat and risk against our country and people, it will not necessary anymore for us to conduct operations in the region. Therefore, we are expressing our opinions on every occasion that we should respect for this territorial integrity , we are very sincere on this issue.”
Minister Akar also stated that “Turkish Armed Forces will continue to make effort in order to provide contribution to regional and global peace. We have exceeded the ratio of 65% for being nationalized on defence industry. We attach great importance on this issue. I hope this progress will continue at the same level. We are manufacturing many weapons and ammunitions right now which we procured abroad in the past and I hope that we will have completed the rest of them in the next years.”
Minister Akar saying that “So long as geography is a destiny, Turkey is the destiny of this geography as well” emphasized that the countries in the region and neighbouring countries should comprehend and interiorise this”.Minister Akar touching upon the significance of being very strong in this geography also said that “ We must have an effective, deterrent and reputable Turkish Armed Forces to be strong. In this regard ,we have done our best so far and will continue to do so in the future as well. In the light of wisdom and science, Turkish Armed Forces emerging from the heart of our noble nation is ready to serve for its nation in line with the regulations and constitution . Nobody should ever doubt that. Turkish Armed Forces is on the job with all heroic and self-sacrifice members regardless of working conditions even at the mountainous areas, at home and cross border. This is the biggest source of pride for us.”
Minister Akar also stated that they were heavily punished as they deserved and said that “We have done what we had to do, and will continue to do so from now on. We are very sensitive on that”
During the lunch with Turkish soldiers, Minister Akar stated that we will maintain our struggle against terrorism until the last terrorist is neutralized .“We will never allow any kind of threat and risk to exist which threatens our borders in the south of Turkey and damages our people and security forces. We will continue our struggle till we eliminate these risks and threats. We are highly determined to end terrorism. No way back. I hope we will rescue our noble people and country from this terror trouble.
Minister of National Defence Hulusi Akar celebrated the new year of the personnel working in the units where he conducted examinations with the Chief of General Staff General Güler and Commanders-in-Chief of Armed Forces.