World Bulletin / News Desk
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday Turkey would not allow what he called "terrorist" groups like the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or al Qaeda to establish a presence in Syria near the Turkish border.
Davutoglu did not specify what steps Turkey could take to prevent activities by such groups along its 911-km (566-mile) frontier with Syria, which is in the throes of 16-month crackdown on a popular uprising that has claimed 17,000 lives.
"We will not permit a terrorist group, whether it is the PKK or al Qaeda, to set up at our border. This has nothing to do with ethnicity," Davutoglu said in a live interview with Kanal 24 television channel.
"No one should wait for Turkey to take unnecessary risks, no matter what the situation is. But if there is a terrorist structure targeting our border security, taking measures is our right and our duty," he said.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey could act against a "terrorist" organisation in northern Syria if it perceived it as a threat -- a warning to PKK militants believed to be active in the region.
Erdogan's talk of a possible intervention marked a new escalation in tensions between Turkey and Syria, at odds since President Bashar al-Assad failed to heed Ankara's calls to quit to make way for a political transition.
"We want the transition in Syria to be complete as soon as possible," Davutoglu said.
The comments from Erdogan and Davutoglu also indicate the government's concern about the growing influence of Syria's Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is linked with the PKK.
The Turkish foreign minister has said Turkey neither considered Kurds a threat, nor used them as a threat policy.
Davutoglu said, "We never perceive our Kurdish brothers as a threat".
The minister said Turkey would not accept any ethnical or sectarian tension with any group, underscoring that Kurdish people lived in harmony with the people of Iran, Iraq and Syria.
"We will not let our Kurdish brothers suffer, neither in Iraq nor in Syria. We will not present them as a threat policy either," he said.
Davutoglu also underscored that Turkey did not want any terrorist structures in Syrian territory close to the Turkish border.
"This has nothing to do with ethnicity, religion or support. We consider PKK a threat. We will not permit such a structure around our borders. This is a stance against terrorist organization PKK," he said.
Davutoglu also noted that efforts to create a perception as if "a northern Syria" was being established was a "psychological operation".