President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he returned a letter by his U.S. counterpart that threatened Ankara over its anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria and slammed Washington's treatment of the terrorist PKK-linked group's leader. "I presented the letter to Mr. President and especially felt sorrow that a U.S. president took a terrorist called Ferhat Abdi Şahin as an addressee," said Erdoğan during a press conference with Donald Trump in Washington. Şahin, known by his codename Mazloum Kobani, is the ringleader of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization. Trump repeatedly praised the terrorist leader and said he looks forward to seeing him.
Erdoğan said Şahin has caused the deaths of hundreds of Turkish people and is the adopted son of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK terrorist organization. "It actually saddens us that the U.S., which we call our strategic partner, welcomes such a person. Likewise, this person is welcomed by Russia. It is hard to comprehend this within the scope of the fight against terrorism across the world," said Erdoğan. The letter Trump sent to Erdoğan on Oct. 9 threatened Turkey with economic devastation if Ankara proceeded with its operation in northeastern Syria. It was also widely criticized as rude and ill-written.
Erdoğan also said he submitted some CIA documents which suggested that Şahin is a terrorist. "The CIA also documented him as a terrorist and they sent us these documents, and then we presented them to Mr. President today. We also returned the letter likewise," Erdoğan added, without elaborating how the intelligence organization provided the documents to Ankara. Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity. On Oct. 17, the U.S. and Turkey came to an agreement to pause the operation to allow the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the planned safe zone, where Ankara wants to repatriate millions of Syrian refugees it is currently hosting.