Trump responded positively to Turkish counter-terror op east of Euphrates: Erdoğan

Published 17.12.2018 00:00
Updated 17.12.2018 15:34
emAA Photo/em
AA Photo

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Monday he told his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump that terrorists must leave the region east of the Euphrates River in Syria, reiterating that a Turkish operation there could begin at any moment.

"If they don't go, we will send them," he said, speaking at the Mevlana Square in central Konya province at an opening ceremony for new facilities and projects.

"The terror corridor (in Syria) is disturbing us. Since we are partners with the U.S., we must do this," he said.

Erdoğan said U.S. President Trump gave a positive response to Turkey's operation.

He called on the U.S. to uphold its agreement made in the Manbij deal to clear the PKK's Syrian affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG) from the region.

"Our fight against terrorism in the Syrian territory will continue until a political solution is opened," Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan last week announced an imminent Turkish operation east of the Euphrates River, and on Monday, he said Turkey has begun to take action toward that operation.

He reiterated Monday that the operation will not harm U.S. soldiers.

Erdoğan and Trump spoke on the phone on Friday, reportedly agreeing on the need for more effective coordination in Syria.

According to the statement by the Turkish presidency, the two leaders discussed bilateral issues, security and anti-terrorism issues, especially regarding recent developments in Syria.

The United States' ongoing steadfast support to the YPG and the terrorist organization's subsequent increase in strength in the region have prompted Ankara to take necessary steps to ensure its national security.

Previously, Turkey targeted the PKK terror group's Syrian affiliate YPG in two cross-border operations, Operation Euphrates Shield launched in August 2016 and Operation Olive Branch in January 2018, as well as through air and artillery strikes.

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.

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