Turkish PM vows ‘cross-border operations’ if US assurance not given

Turkish PM vows ‘cross-border operations’ if US assurance not given

Turkish PM vows ‘cross-border operations’ if US assurance not given

AFP photo

Turkey will not hesitate to launch cross-border military operations against “terror organization” if necessary assurances are not given by the U.S., Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said ahead of a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump that is expected to focus on Ankara’s objections about Syrian Kurdish fighters.

“If necessary assurances are not given, what we’ll do is very clear. We are determined and we will do what’s necessary in order to clean terror, whether it is within our borders or outside our borders,” Yıldırım told his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group on May 16. 

He also reiterated Ankara’s line that “cooperation with one terrorist organization in order to defeat another terrorist organization is unacceptable.”

He was referring to U.S. cooperation with the People’s Protection units (YPG) as a local partner on the ground in the bid to drive the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) out of Raqqa.

Syria was expected to dominate the agenda of talks in Washington between Erdoğan and Trump, as the former hopes to convince the U.S. president to change his mind about cooperating with the YPG ahead of a massive military campaign in Raqqa with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are dominated by Kurdish fighters.

‘Germany should decide if wants to develop ties with Turkey’

Prime Minister Yıldırım also referred to recent strain in ties between Berlin and Ankara, after several Turkish soldiers and their families, all stationed at NATO facilities in Germany, were recently granted asylum in a preliminary administrative decision.

“Germany has to decide. If it wants to develop relations with Turkey then it should turn to the Republic of Turkey, not to separatists,” he said.

The Turkish authorities have launched a massive purge since the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016, with the government dismissing thousands of alleged supporters of the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who the Turkish government believes masterminded the failed putsch.