The echoes of the recent decision taken by the U.S. House of Representatives to adopt a controversial resolution on the 1915 events continue as Turkish officials express condemnation while labeling the decision as simply politically motivated and lacking any historical evidence and regarding it as a reprisal against Turkey's Operation Peace Spring against U.S.-backed terrorist groups. Turkey is determined to press ahead with its fight against terrorism, The Turkish Presidency's communications director said on Friday. "It is unfortunate for U.S. policymakers and politicians to allow themselves to be blackmailed by the lobbyists of a terror organization," Fahrettin Altun wrote on Twitter. He added that countries that forge ties with terrorist groups are responsible for damaging strategic relations with Turkey, their NATO ally. Turkey has been critical of the U.S. and France, both NATO members like Turkey, for pursuing ties with the terrorist group PKK and its Syrian branch the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – the target of Turkey's Operation Peace Spring. The terrorist leaders of the YPG have been guests or proposed as guests by officials in both Washington and Paris. "Any attempt to stop Turkey's determination is null and void for us," Altun cited President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as saying, adding that Turkey is resolute to continue its anti-terror efforts.
He added that with its anti-terror operations, Turkey ensures the security of both the Turkish people and others around the world. Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the YPG. While the U.S. warned Turkey to avoid carrying out an operation in the region, Ankara proceeded with its plans to clear terrorists from the border area to ensure security and facilitate the return of refugees. Turkey and the U.S. have been at odds over a number of issues, including the latter's support for the YPG, an offshoot of the PKK which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union. On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone and develop a peace corridor running from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border to facilitate the return of displaced Syrians currently living in Turkey to their home country and provide security for Turkish border settlements and military outposts. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center. The agreement envisages the setting up of measures necessary to address Turkey's security concerns. Although the first phase of establishing a safe zone in northern Syria was launched together with the U.S. after a long period of discussions, Turkey is still approaching the issue cautiously due to its previous failed negotiations with the NATO ally. Ankara warns Washington of consequences Another statement came from Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın who on Friday said that Turkey warned the U.S. about the possible consequences of the decision. Speaking at a live broadcast, Kalın said: “We warned the U.S. administration about the damages of decisions taken. When historical records and documents are evaluated, they, too, know that such events that support these genocide claims did not happen. The president’s call for a joint history commission has not yet received a response. We have opened up our archives in the light of history and our invitation is still valid. If there are people who want the historical facts to come to light, they should try making an effort for this historical evidence to show up.” Kalın also criticized U.S. officials’ positive attitude toward Ferhat Abdi Şahin, the ringleader of the YPG terror group who goes by the codename “Mazloum Kobani.” “Calling a terrorist a ‘general’ is supporting terrorism,” said Kalın, referring to U.S. officials addressing Şahin as “General Mazloum”. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu discussed the recent U.S. resolution as well as recent developments in Syria with his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo, an official statement said late Thursday. On Tuesday, Ankara openly condemned the U.S. resolution entitled "Affirming the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide," arguing that this decision was taken as a reprisal against Turkey's Operation Peace Spring and labeling the move "worthless." The House of Representatives passed the resolution recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide, with lawmakers voting 405-11. President Erdoğan himself also criticized the U.S. House of Representatives for adopting a controversial resolution, as he slammed European countries for providing protection for PKK-linked groups to carry out their terrorist activities. US not in a position to give Turkey up The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Mahir Ünal also said Thursday that the U.S. was not in a position to renounce Turkey's partnership over the country's anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria. "When we look at U.S.-Turkey relations, we see that the U.S. is not in a position to give Turkey up," Ünal said, adding that Turkey's strength and determination make the country an indispensable partner in the region. Ünal underscored that Turkey had over 81% of public support for Operation Peace Spring, adding that the country successfully cleared Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn from YPG terrorists within a matter of 16 hours without harming any civilians in the region, while the U.S. indiscriminately bombed Raqqa for over a month to clear Daesh. He continued by saying that the current position of the U.S. is extremely vague as it is difficult to understand what the administration is trying to do. "On one hand, Trump is going through an impeachment process amid a controversy regarding Ukraine and Russia while on the other hand there's the position of the House of Representatives and the statements of some senators who contradict each other," Ünal said. He noted that Trump's unusual approach to politics has become the new norm. "Many things can be said about Trump but I say Trump is not abnormal. He is the new normal," Ünal said, adding that the U.S. president's behavior had become the new norm amid the collapse of the international system and dysfunctional organizations, including the European Union, NATO and the United Nations, none of which are currently accomplishing what they were created to achieve. "Trump cares about results rather than the essence and quality of the things he does," Ünal said and added: "This is what I mean by the new norm." Ünal pointed out that Germany, Britain and France were trying to establish contact with President Erdoğan to become a part of the process in the region as they have been left out of the loop. U.S. politicians’ efforts to retaliate against Turkey’s anti-terror military operation are also evident in their politically-motivated decisions. Steve Cohen, a Democrat in the House of Representatives is one example. Cohen supported the controversial bill approved in the House and voted in favor of it. About his decision, “I always opposed the Armenian bill but I voted in favor of it this week. Because Turkey does not respect the U.S.,” said Cohen, noting that Congress had never reached the necessary number of votes to pass the Armenian bill before. Civil society representatives also protested the U.S. bill on Armenian claims. Göksel Gülbey, chair of the International Foundation of Fight against Groundless Armenian Claims (ASİMDER), said: “The reason that it [the bill] came to the agenda is Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in Syria.” Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, Gülbey added that the U.S. is using the claims about the Armenians as political leverage.
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