‘Turkey fights against terrorists, not Kurds,’ presidential spokesman tells US president over his threat on Turkey
Turkey on Sunday warned U.S. President Donald Trump against conflating Syrian Kurds with the PKK terror organization and its Syrian affiliate, the PYD/YPG.
“It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the US terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG,” Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalın said on Twitter. “Turkey fights against terrorists, not Kurds. We will protect Kurds and other Syrians against all terrorist threats.”
His remarks came in response to Trump’s threat to target Turkey’s economy if Ankara hits the terror group amid Washington’s withdrawal of troops from Syria.
“Mr @realDonaldTrump Terrorists can’t be your partners & allies. Turkey expects the US to honor our strategic partnership and doesn’t want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda,” Kalın wrote.
He reiterated that there is no difference between Daesh, PKK, or PYD/YPG and vowed Turkey will continue its fight against these terror groups.
“Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” Trump said on Twitter, using another name for Daesh.
“Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey,” the president added, referring to the PYD/YPG terrorists.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signaled that a cross-border operation against the PYD/YPG terrorist group in northeastern Syria will happen soon. Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.
Turkey not afraid of Trump’s Syria threats: Turkish FM
Turkey is doing what is required to maintain peace and prevent violations in Syria’s northern Idlib, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Monday.
Speaking in Ankara, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also said if Idlib becomes a “nest of terrorism”, it is the Syrian government’s fault for bussing in terrorists from places as far as Daraa in the south.
Çavuşoğlu criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets posted early on Monday, saying “strategic partners shouldn’t communicate through social media.”
The Turkish foreign minister also stressed that Ankara is not afraid of President Trump’s threats.
He also noted that there has been “serious pressure” on Trump not to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria as previously announced.
Following a meeting on Sept. 17, 2018 in the Russian city of Sochi between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the two sides agreed to set up a demilitarized zone — in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited — in Syria’s Idlib province.
According to the terms of the deal, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas in which they are already present while Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing a resumption of fighting.
On Oct. 10, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced that the Syrian opposition and other anti-regime groups had completed the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
Turkey not the enemy of Kurds, but their protector: Turkish Communications Director
Turkey’s communications director on Monday criticized U.S. claims that Ankara would target Kurds in Syria.
“Turkey is not the enemy of Kurds but their protector. Turkey does not have any issue with the Kurds. Our only issue is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terror group and its extensions in Syria. The PYD and YPG are terror organizations. Turkey will steadfastly continue to fight against terror organizations,” Communications Director to the Turkish Presidency Fahrettin Altun, said in a Twitter post on Monday.
Altun stressed that “national security” was most essential for Turkey.
“Terror is terror and it must be eradicated. What Turkey doing in Syria is exactly that,” he said.
His remarks came after U.S President Donald Trump’s threat to target Turkey’s economy if Ankara hits the terror group amid Washington’s withdrawal of troops from Syria.
A possible mission east of the Euphrates, which Turkey’s leadership has been suggesting for months, would follow two successful cross-border Turkish operations into Syria since 2016 – Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch – both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The YPG and PYD are its Syrian extensions.