Erdoğan says US should withdraw from east of Euphrates
The United States should withdraw its presence from the east of Euphrates in Syria, where it supports the YPG terrorist organization, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, stressing that this is one of the results of the Tehran Summit with Russia and Iran.
“For once, America now should leave the east of Euphrates. This is the evaluation of the Astana process. They say that America should withdraw its troops from east of the Euphrates. This is also Türkiye’s expectation,” Erdoğan told reporters on his return from Tehran following the Türkiye-Iran-Russia Astana process meeting late July 19.
Recalling that the United States is supporting terrorist organizations such as the YPG in the east of Euphrates, Erdoğan said: “As America supports terror organizations and as we are struggling against these terror organizations, our job will be easier if it withdraws from there or it ceases its support to them.”
Erdoğan referred to an ongoing partnership between the U.S. and the YPG in the fight against ISIL in the east of the Euphrates. This partnership continues since late 2015 despite Ankara’s harsh reactions.
The U.S. and some members of the anti-ISIL coalition have been pledging enormous support to the YPG, Erdoğan said, adding, “In our meetings with Mr. [U.S. President Joe] Biden we told this. ‘You are delivering trucks [full of weapons] to them. You are giving this support to terrorist organizations. Then you tell us that we are all together at NATO in the fight against terror. Are we really together?’”
New operation remains on the agenda
On a question, Erdoğan reiterated that a new military operation against the YPG will remain on the country’s agenda as long as Türkiye’s national security concerns are not fulfilled. “On the other hand, you see that America’s troops are training the members of the terror organization. While doing that, they are raising the flag of the regime [of Syria]. Why? To deceive us… If they can…,” the president stressed.
Türkiye is closely following all the developments in the east of Euphrates, Afrin and Idlib in a very sensitive way, Erdoğan said. “What we have been saying from the very beginning is that we want Russia and Iran to stand with us in our fight against the terrorists within 30 kilometers of the [Syrian-Turkish] border. They must give us the necessary support.”
Both Iran President Ebrahim Raisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin made emphasis on this issue, Erdoğan noted, expressing his belief that both partners of the Astana Process think no differently from Türkiye on the PKK/PYD/YPG.
“Türkiye has no problem with the territorial integrity of Syria. But we are underlining the situation within these 30 kilometers of the border. Because there are assaults and attacks on us from these areas. Our people were killed, our troops were martyred,” he recalled.
Erdoğan, in Tehran, vowed that Türkiye would eradicate all the terrorist organizations from the north of Syria, particularly Tal Rifaat and Manbij.
F-16s sale from US
On a question about a recent move by the U.S. Congress that ties the sale of the F-16s sale to certain conditions, including that these warplanes won’t be used to violate the Greek airspace, Erdoğan said: “When we discussed all these issues with Mr. Biden, he did not bring about any conditions concerning Greece whatsoever. To the contrary, we have discussed in our lengthy meeting that NATO members should protect each other.”
Recalling that Biden said that he will do his best for the delivery of 40 F-16s and 80 modernization kits to Türkiye, Erdoğan stressed, “Unfortunately, there is a small group of opposition at the House of Representatives. But, for me, this imposition of a certain condition is not binding. What it needs is that they should supply us with brand new F-16s.”
Erdoğan said Türkiye can modernize its existing fleets but still needs some spare parts for the F-16s, informing, “They decided to meet our demands [on the spare parts].”