Turkey to take "necessary measures" on border security: PM Davutoglu

Turkey to take "necessary measures" on border security: PM Davutoglu
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
PHOTO: AFP

ISTANBUL - Turkey is prepared for any security threats along its borders, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying late on Sunday, highlighting Ankara's growing anxiety about developments in the frontier town of Kobani in Syria.

Over the weekend Syrian Kurdish forces secured Kobani near the Turkish border, beating back Islamic State two days after the militants launched an attack.

Ankara has looked askance as the Syrian Kurds have made military advances against Islamic State, fearing the creation of an autonomous Kurdish state there that would further embolden Turkey's own 14 million Kurds.

The fighting prompted President Tayyip Erdogan to warn over the weekend that Turkey would "never allow" the formation of a Kurdish state along its southern borders.

Erdogan is due to chair a regular meeting of the National Security Council later on Monday and his comments will be closely watched.

"If any harm is to come to Turkey's border security, if Turkey reaches the conclusion that this garden of peace is being threatened, it is prepared for any eventuality," Davutoglu said in comments broadcast late on Sunday.

"We will take the necessary measures to reduce the risks related to cross-border security."

Turkey wants to construct more walls along its border with Syria to strengthen security against Islamic State militants and to crack down on illegal border crossings, senior officials told Reuters on Saturday.

The pro-government Star newspaper said on Monday a possible cross-border operation would be considered at the national security council meeting, citing unnamed sources.

One option that could be considered was the creation of a 110 km (68 mile) long "secure zone" within Syria, it said.

Brokerage Finansbank said in a note to clients that given Turkey's current political uncertainty - Davutoglu's AK Party still needs to find a junior partner to form a government following its election setback this month - any intervention would likely be limited.

"We remain doubtful that a 'lame duck' government could undertake anything more than a 'targeted' operation that would be limited in both scale and scope," it said.

"However, following Erdogan's strong statement, the situation is clearly worth monitoring closely."

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