Erdoğan heads to US for UNGA with Syria, Patriot purchase on agenda

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ANKARA
Published 21.09.2019 13:50
Updated 21.09.2019 15:23
emDHA Photo/em
DHA Photo

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he will address international peace and security issues at the U.N. General Assembly on the first day of talks on Sept. 24, as he spoke to the press before he departed for New York.

The 74th session of the General Assembly will be held in U.S. on Sept. 21-25. The president also announced Ambassador Volkan Bozkır's nomination for the 75th U.N. General Assembly presidency till September 2021.

Erdoğan also touched on issues that he would discuss with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the assembly. Syria and the U.S.' continued support for terrorist groups were the main concerns Erdoğan addressed.

"We have completed all of our preparations along the border. We are together with the U.S. in NATO and we have continued our strategic partnership for many years," Erdoğan said about the establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.

"But in a place where the United States is not invited, we cannot afford to ignore the support it has given to terrorist organizations. In other words, their support for terrorist organizations such as the People's Protection Units (YPG) / PKK is obvious," he added.

Calling the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a YPG-led group, an umbrella organization of the PKK, Erdoğan said he would discuss this with Trump as well as the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, which has not yet been realized.

The U.S currently has nearly 1,000 troops in Syria, mostly working with the SDF and YPG, purportedly for its fight against Daesh.

Erdoğan stressed that Turkey will clear all terrorist organizations from the area with the establishment of the safe zone.

His comments came as Turkish and U.S. helicopters conducted the 6th joint air patrols as part of an agreement on the planned safe zone.

On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.

The agreement also envisaged setting up necessary security measures to address Turkey's security concerns, including clearing the zone of the terrorist YPG/PKK, a group the U.S. has sometimes been allied with, over Turkey's objections.

The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group, which for more than 30 years has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people in Turkey, including many children, women, and infants.

Commenting on the possible purchase of Patriot missiles, Erdoğan said that Patriots were "not off the table."

"If our conditions are fulfilled we could consider buying them, this is also on the U.S.' agenda," Erdoğan said.

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