Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during a television interview this week that northern Syria is more suitable for Arabs than Kurds because it is “a desert region.”

In an 80-minute interview broadcast on Oct. 24 on Turkey’s state-run TRT news network, Erdoğan said of Turkey-Syria border region that “the people most suitable for that area are the Arabs. These areas are not suitable for the lifestyle of the Kurds.”

When the interviewer asked why not, Erdoğan answered: “Because they are desert regions.”

He also said the “safe zone” being established in northeast Syria would be 32 kilometers deep and entirely under Turkish control around Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, while the areas to the east and west would be jointly patrolled by Turkish, Russian and Syrian regime forces.

He further said that “there is no area where flights are forbidden for us … because we have here … a strong cooperation between Russia, Turkey and Iran.”

Erdoğan was interviewed by TRT World editor-in-chief Serdar Karagöz, TRT World anchor Andrea Sanke and TRT anchor Pelin Çift.

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