Erdogan Vows to Eliminate PKK, YPG, PYD, Urges US to Refrain From Provocations
15:49 21.01.2018(updated 18:22 21.01.2018)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has addressed the United States, blaming them for supporting the Kurdish militia in Syria.
"Do not assault our frontiers, do not provoke us. Otherwise, we'll not have enough patience. I said this to the respected [former US President Barack] Obama. It is a pity that I did not receive an answer. We said: "We'll come unexpectedly at night." We waited, waited, and then struck. Those who say that the US is behind them will not cope with the Turkish people. This is our people's struggle," Erdogan stated, speaking at a women's congress in the province of Bursa.
The president recalled the US military support of the Kurdish armed groups in Syria, saying that the US had sent 5,000 trucks with weapons to the Syrian Kurds.
After the Turkish Air Forces' sledge-hammer attack on the territory of Syria's Afrin on January 20, which resulted in the damage of 108 targets out of 113 planned, the country launched a ground operation in the area on January 21.
According to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, the country's troops would leave Afrin as soon as the armed forces achieve the goals of the Olive Branch operation, specifying that the offensive wasn't "against our Turkmen, Kurdish or Arab brothers", but against the terrorists.
Despite the fact that the military operation has already been condemned by Damascus, calling it a violation of Syrian sovereignty, Ankara calls it self-defense under international law.
Earlier the US had announced its decision to start training a border protection force composed of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which has been described by Ankara as a "terrorist army." Following this move, Turkey has been threatening to start an offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria's Aftrin, despite the US calls not to engage in any invasion in the area and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's assurance that the US had no intention of building a Syria-Turkey border force.
However, according to the Pentagon, despite the fact that it is not a "new army," Turkey's security concerns are "legitimate."
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