Turkey to widen safe zone area if attacked by the YPG: Erdoğan
Turkey has urged the United States and Russia to fully implement its separate agreements with them on the withdrawal of YPG terrorists 30 kilometers off its borders with Syria and to resume the military operation and to widen the safe zone if it’s attacked by terrorists.
“We will retaliate in kind against any assault from outside of the safe zone and will widen the area of the safe zone if necessary,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 30 in his address to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the Turkish Parliament.
Turkey and the U.S. agreed on Oct. 17 to the withdrawal of YPG troops 30 kilometers south of the Turkish-Syrian border from between Tal Abyad and Ras’ul Ayn provinces. Turkey halted its operations after Washington assured Turkey that the YPG terrorists had been pulled back from the said area.
Erdoğan also urged Russia with which it signed on Oct. 22 another deal for the withdrawal of the YPG troops from the east and west banks of the Tal Abyad-Ras’ul Ayn strip. Some 150-hours-long deadline for the withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij, Kobane and Tel Rıfat provinces expired on Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. while Russia announced that the YPG had left the area.
“Russia has notified us that 34,000 YPG terrorists have withdrawn 30 kilometers south of our borders with 3,600 [pieces of] heavy weaponry. But our findings show that the implementation of the agreement is not compete. We will conclude our work and will share it with Russia,” Erdoğan said.
Turkey recognizes the YPG as the Syrian affiliation of the PKK and therefore as a terrorist group. The PKK has been designated as a terror organization by the U.S., the European Union and Turkey.
Erdoğan, responding to questions on what Turkey’s Plan B or C would be in the case that the agreements are not implemented, said,
“We are now executing Plan A. We may implement our Plan B, Plan C if our expectations in Ayn al Arab, Menbij will not be met. We will see what steps we will take in line with the conditions in the field after the completion of joint patrolling.”
Joint patrol mission with Russia starts on Nov 1
President Erdoğan informed that Turkish-Russian joint military patrolling will start on Nov. 1 in areas designated by the Oct. 22 deal. The area will cover seven kilometers deep in Syria around the Manbij, Ayn al Arab and other provinces.
Erdoğan reiterated that Turkey will not hesitate to attack YPG terrorists if they have not yet pulled back from these areas, vowing that Turkey has reserved its right to resume its operation against terrorism.
In response to a question, Erdoğan said he might hold a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin at any time.
Turkey launched on Oct. 9 its Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria to wipe out the YPG terrorists from its borders. Erdoğan said more than 900 terrorists have been “neutralized” during the operation which cleared 558 residential areas of the YPG.
President recalled that the two objectives of the operation was to provide the security of Turkey and to pave the way for the return of Syrian refugees to safer areas in their homeland.
Meeting with Europeans
On the return of the Syrian refugees, Erdoğan said there was a proposal tabled by prominent European countries to hold a four-way meeting with the participation of Turkey, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
“There are three venues where such a meeting can be held: Either in Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa or Istanbul. If you want to discuss the refugee issue then you should come to Gaziantep or Şanlıurfa as the incident is taking place here,” he said.
Hinting that German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed that he visit Berlin for such a meeting, Erdoğan said, “What does Berlin have to do with it? Am I a tourist? You should better come here and maybe you can see the situation along the border with your own eyes.”
If this meeting cannot take place in Turkey in November, then four leaders can come together on the sidelines of NATO’s 70th-anniversary summit in London on Dec. 3 and 4.
Erdoğan slams Europe
Turkey has lost two dozen civilians and nine troops at the hands of YPG terrorists, and more than 700 attacks have taken place against the Turks living abroad, but no leader calling on him to stop the operation has expressed his or her sorrow over Turkey’s losses, Erdoğan said.
“Many of them are at NATO with us. Many of them are at the EU that we negotiate with (for full membership), but all these (anti-Turkey) protests are taking place in their countries under the control of the police. Any sound from them? No. Seventy-nine of these protests targeted our flag, our missions, mosques, associations or our citizens,” he added.
Slamming the European countries for backing terrorists, Erdoğan urged: “You are making a mistake. The terrorist snake which you are breeding with your hands will one day turn to you and bite you. You will understand the mistake you commit when bombs will explode on your streets, terrorists will use their guns and vandals will start to ravage.”
President Erdoğan referred to the Yellow Vest protests ongoing in France and stressed that this sort of rallies will spread to all countries.
Turkish Parliament to respond to US resolution on 1915 incidents
Erdoğan also slammed the U.S. House of Representatives’ resolution that recognizes the 1915 events as “Armenian genocide” and said the Turkish Parliament will pass a counter-resolution.
“From here, I am addressing U.S. public opinion and the entire world: This step was taken as worthless, and we do not recognize it,” the president said, addressing his party members at the parliament.
The Turkish Parliament would pass a counter-resolution, Erdogan said, adding that Turkey was saddened that a” slander” against the country is being accepted by a country’s parliament. “We would consider this accusation the biggest insult towards our nation,” he said.
“A country whose history is full of the stain of genocide and slavery neither has the right to say anything nor to lecture Turkey,” Erdogan stated.
“In our faith, genocide is definitely banned,” he said. “We consider such an accusation to be the biggest insult to our people,” he said.
The step to consider the events as genocide “does not count for anything,” he emphasized, saying American lawmakers had acted “opportunistically” to pass the bill at a time when Turkey is being widely criticized for its incursion into Syria.
Erdoğan later told reporters he had not yet made up his mind about whether to go through with a visit to the United States, which had been set for Nov. 13. “I haven’t made my decision yet; there is a question mark,” he said.