Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey's military offensive into northeast Syria is as "vital" to Turkey as its 1974 military intervention in Cyprus, which split the island in two.
In a speech he delivered in Baku, Azerbaijan on Monday, Erdogan also made clear Turkey would not halt its offensive despite the widespread condemnation it has drawn.
Turkey launched its offensive into northeastern Syria last week to carve out a "safe zone" along its border, ostensibly to push out Syrian Kurdish fighters it considers to be terrorists because of their links to Kurdish militants in Turkey.
Erdogan said: "We are determined to take our operation to the end. We will finish what we started. A hoisted flag does not come down."
Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot state on the island's northern third. [AP]