ANKARA, Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan has accused the US of trying to establish a safe zone for a terrorist group in Northern Syria.
“It seems Turkey’s ally seeks a safe zone in North Syria not for Turkey but for the terrorist group,” Erdogan in a speech during inauguration of several development projects in eastern Malatya province, referring to the Kurdistan People’s Party (PKK) and its affiliates in Syria.
“We reject such an approach,” he stressed.
He regretted that in every step taken to create a safe zone for Turkey in North Syria, it became clearer that the Turkish and US goals were not the same.
It appeared that what Turkey wanted, did not match with what was in the mind of the US, he said.
He explained that while Turkey aimed to completely eliminate the terrorist organization nesting in North Syria, but the US counts for dealing with Turkey and the terrorist organization (Kurdistan People’s Party) on same ground.
The Turkish leader described the joint Turkish-US patrols in North Syria, which started on Sunday, as insufficient for his country’s security.
It is insufficient to form a safe zone in North Syria with “3-5 helicopter flights, 5-10 vehicle patrols and a few hundred soldiers in area,” he argued.
He warned that Turkey would establish its own safe zone if efforts with US did not bear fruit by end of September.
“If de facto formation of a safe zone east of the Euphrates River with Turkish soldiers is not initiated by the end of September, Turkey has no choice but to set out on its own,” he vowed.
Erdogan stressed that Turkey needed to effectively secure the entire region of the safe zone in North Syria to help resettle one million people there.
“We want to create an area cleared of Daesh (the so-called Islamic State group) along with PKK and its extensions PYD-YPG-SDG, only in this way we can ensure that our Syrian brothers and sisters living in our country, in Europe or elsewhere can return to their homes and live in peace and security,” he said.
The YPG is the military wing of PYD, which is the Syrian affiliate of the PKK organization. Both YPG and PYD are operating in north Syria with military support from US and under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDG) which was formed to fight the so-called Islamic State group there.
The PKK is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, US and EU. Turkey has repeatedly criticized the US for allying with a terrorist group (PKK) to counter another terrorist group (the IS) in Syria.
Source: Kuwait News Agency