President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said neither Russia nor the U.S. fulfilled their part of the deal over the withdrawal of PKK's Syrian offshoot People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists from northern Syria, as he highlighted Turkey's determined fight against terrorism and announced the capture of slain Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's child.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of his departure for an official visit to Hungary, Erdoğan said Turkey is waging a determined fight against terrorism.
"It has been well over 150 hours since we signed a deal with Russia but terrorists are still in the region and continue to attack Syrian National Army (SNA) soldiers," Erdoğan said, adding that 11 SNA fighters were killed on Thursday alone.
Touching upon the capture of al-Baghdadi's relatives, the president said DNA test has confirmed that Turkey also captured his child with his wife.
Erdoğan said that captured relatives of the terrorist leader will be sent to repatriation centers and will stay there until their procedures are completed.
"Interrogation procedures are proceeding with determination," he added.
Speaking in a joint press conference with Huıngarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban later in the day, Erdoğan said that 13 Daesh members with links to al-Baghdadi were also captured. "We have neutralized and captured more than 3,000 Daesh members in [Operation Euphrates Shield] in [Syria's] al-Bab alone. There are currently more than 1,150 Daesh members in Turkish prisons," Erdoğan said, reiterating once again that there are no other country in the world that has displayed a stronger stance against Daesh.
Previously on Tuesday, Erdoğan announced the capture of al-Baghdadi's wife.
Earlier this week, officials said Turkish security forces captured al-Baghdadi's older sister, her husband, daughter-in-law and five children. Rasmiya Awad, 65, was captured in a raid Monday on a trailer container she was living in with her family near the northern Syrian town of Azaz in Aleppo province. The area is part of the region administered by Turkey following Operation Euphrates Shield launched against Daesh and PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists in August 2016.
Regarding Turkey's safe zone plans, Erdoğan said: "There are 4 million refugees in our country. A significant number of refugees are likely to migrate, especially to Europe. The steps we want to take with the safe zone are to ensure that refugees return to their homes and lands."
"Unfortunately, some of our strategic partners are involved and cooperating with leaders of terrorist groups. These relationships sadden us. There is no difference between Ferhat Abdi Şahin (Mazloum Abdi / Mazloum Kobani) and al-Baghdadi," Erdoğan said, referring to the YPG commander's planned visit to the U.S.
During the press conference before his departure, Erdoğan also slammed sports administrations for discriminating against Turkish athletes, who are "under systematic attack regarding their military salute."
He noted that Turkey has prohibited the entry of around 76,000 suspected Daesh terrorists and deported 7,550.
There are around 1,149 Daesh terrorists in Turkish prisons, Erdoğan added.
The president also criticized sports bodies for taking a biased stance against Turkish athletes.
"We reject UEFA's discriminatory attitude against our football players," Erdoğan said, as he urged the football body to adopt a just attitude.
UEFA launched "disciplinary investigations" for Turkish national team players, appointing an inspector with regard to "potential provocative political behavior."
Turkish national team players gave military salutes while celebrating a goal they scored during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against Albania in Istanbul, as well as during their match against France in Saint-Denis. The team dedicated their goals to Turkish soldiers fighting in northern Syria in the ongoing Operation Peace Spring.