‘Allies haven’t obeyed’ Trump’s call for Syria: Erdoğan
“Trump brought up the issue of withdrawal, the people next to him did not follow the instructions yet,” Erdoğan said, addressing the closing session of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) camp in Ankara.
“Trump came to the point,” Turkey defends on the issue of the safe zone, Erdoğan said.
“Unfortunately, terrorist organizations such as PKK, PYD and YPG throw javelin around here,” he added.
Erdoğan recalled that Trump was the one who expressed 20 miles depth of safe zone into northern Syria.
In a Twitter post in January, Trump proposed the establishment of a 20-mile (32-kilometer) wide safe zone in Syria’s eastern Euphrates region.
Erdoğan also criticized the arms support of the U.S. administration to the YPG group, which Ankara sees as the Syrian branch of the illegal PKK.
”It’s our right to ask account for this,” he said recalling that Turkey has 911 kilometers of the border in the region and has to take care of this national security against the PKK.
Erdoğan criticized commentators who suggest that the idea of establishing a safe zone in northern Syria was planned by the U.S., but had nothing to do with Erdoğan, saying that they hava a lack of information about the process.
“It was me who told the [Barack] Obama administration about where could be the area for a safe zone,” he stated.
Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed on Aug. 7 to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return to their homeland.
Turkish leaders have said the U.S. is not doing enough to establish the zone, which could house some 2-3 million Syrians who fled the Syrian civil war since 2011.
Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.
Ankara has so far spent $40 billion for the refugees, according to official figures.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU. Turkey deems the YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK.
In recent years, Turkey has conducted military operations against the YPG and ISIL militans to clear the areas in the west of the Euphrates river.