Turkey is fighting terror for regional peace: Erdoğan
Erdinç Çelikkan - BAKU
Turkey is fighting terrorism for regional peace and humanity as the anti-terror struggle is a universal phenomenon, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, informing that he repeated Turkey’s concerns over the continued American military and political support to the YPG in Syria to United States President Joe Biden during their meeting on June 14.
“We will continue our struggle against terrorism no matter what,” Erdoğan told a group of journalists traveling with him to Azerbaijan on June 15 and 16.
“We are doing this for our country, our region and global peace and justice. Terror is a universal problem. Our struggle is not just for our country but humanity,” said the president, who met with Biden before his trip to Baku and discussed all the problematic bilateral issues and opportunities in ties with the U.S.
Erdoğan said he explained Turkey’s position regarding the fight against terror in a booklet he handed to world leaders, including Biden during the NATO leaders’ summit. Recalling that the U.S. has failed to blame the YPG for the past week’s bloody attack against a hospital in Afrin province of northern Syria, Erdoğan said he gave all the necessary documents about Turkey’s fight against the PKK, YPG, FETÖ and ISIL to Biden.
Those who support a terror organization in a bid to eliminate another terror organization and picking the side of the YPG instead of its ally will sooner or later realize the mistake they have a committed, Erdoğan stressed.
“I believe this: We will solve our problem by our own means. There is no other way. We trust our security forces and we are strong,” he said, underlining that Turkey has proven its capacity in Libya and Syria. “I have spoken all these things openly with Mr. Biden.”
No different move on S-400s
On a question about the ongoing problem with the U.S. about Turkey’s deployment of the S-400 systems from Russia, which triggered Turkey’s exclusion from the F-35 fighter jet project, Erdoğan said he told Biden not to expect any different step from Turkey. “Because we fulfilled our responsibilities in regards to the F-35s and made the necessary payments. On the S-400s, we wanted to buy Patriots from you, but you have not delivered them,” he said.
Turkey will continue to claim its rights about the F-35s and also remain in touch with the U.S. on a potential cooperation in the field of defense industry, he stated.
About his invitation to Biden to come to Turkey, Erdoğan said the U.S. president told him he would make this visit after he eases his program.
“With Mr. Biden, we are willing to endure our relations in line with our alliance and strategic partnership. We have serious potential for cooperation, from anti-terror fight to energy, from trade to investments as well as in Syria and Libya. We want to benefit from this potential by mobilizing existing mechanisms between our countries,” he said.
More responsibility in Afghanistan
On a question about ongoing discussions about a potential Turkish mission in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO, Erdoğan recalled that Turkey has always been one of the countries that exerted most efforts for the stability and peace of Afghanistan.
Turkey will continue to contribute to the establishment of sustainable tranquility and stability in Afghanistan, he added. “Turkey can shoulder more responsibility here after the U.S. decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. I believe we can turn the peaceful climate in the country into a permanent one with the constructive contributions of all the parties and regional countries.”
Ankara, Baku can cooperate in Libya
Erdoğan also touched on a recent high-level visit to Libya from Turkey. He described it as very positive and stressed that Libyan authorities were also satisfied with the talks.
“We have found the opportunity to cement our ties and review our agreements with Libya. This visit was observed in a very different way in the world. We will continue these works regularly”, he stated, adding the main message was that Turkey will always be with Libya.
President Erdoğan also informed that he discussed the developments in Libya with Azerbaijan President İlham Aliyev in Baku, stressing they have agreed to look into what joint actions can be taken concerning the Libyan hydrocarbon reserves.
“They [Azeris] have certain knowledge and experience in these matters. Since we have the same knowledge and experience, it is even possible to take some steps in refining. We can also take such steps. I made this offer to him. He also said that he would be pleased with such a thing and that they could take such a step themselves,” he said.
Meet with Greek PM was positive
On a question, Erdoğan described his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as very positive. He said he agreed with the Greek premier to stay in direct communication without the involvement of third parties.
“It was a very good meeting and I wish it will continue much better,” he said.