US should distance itself from terrorism, MHP chairman says


Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli criticized the U.S. on Tuesday for backing PKK-affiliated groups in northern Syria and called on Washington to distance itself from terror.

"The United States should distance itself from terror. Is there anyone who reckons what would happen if the dialogue between Turkey and the U.S. falls apart and weapons start going off?" MHP's chairman said at his party's weekly parliamentary group meeting.

Asserting that the White House should make its intentions clear about its controversial cooperation with the PKK's Syrian affiliate – the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing People's Protection Units (YPG), Bahçeli asked, "Are we friend or foe? Alliance or conflict?"

The party chairman also slammed the U.S. generals who posed with YPG terrorists in Syria's Manbij. He said that people who think they can threaten Turkey, know nothing about the country.

"However, we know how introduce ourselves very well," Bahçeli said. He was referring to U.S. Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk, who paid a visit to U.S. forces in Manbij last week and said that the U.S. would continue to support the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces' (SDF) allies. The U.S. general, saying all this despite the recent tensions with Turkey, added that a continued U.S. presence in Syria's north is aimed at deescalating tensions and the U.S. may fight against Turkey in Manbij in case of a possible operation.

Turkish officials have consistently noted that Operation Olive Branch will continue in Manbij and they have criticized the U.S. for not keeping its promise that local councils would run the cities after they are liberate. Yet, the PKK and its Syrian affiliate, the PYD, have taken control of the area.

Meanwhile, the MHP's chairman emphasized that the U.S. must keep its promises to Turkey in Syria. He said that the weapons in the hands of PKK and YPG terrorists must be taken back or Turkey would do what is necessary.

"Nobody in Manbij should dare wave their finger at Turkey," Bahçeli added.

Commenting on Turkey's Operation Olive Branch, he said that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have been conducting the most legitimate offensive in recent years.

"The terrorism threat created high security risks. It is a historic obligation for Turkey to cleanse the Afrin region of terrorists," he said.

Recounting that Germany and France have been bothered by the operation, Bahçeli said that the Turkish military is conducting the offensive to protect its citizens and bring order to the region.

To conclude, he stressed that there is no turning back from counterterrorism operations until their goals are met.

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