US not united on Syria withdrawal: Erdoğan

US not united on Syria withdrawal: Erdoğan

US not united on Syria withdrawal: Erdoğan


Turkey's president said on Feb. 15 the Washington administration did not appear to portray a united stance on its withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria.       

In as televised interview, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan praised a recent trilateral summit held in the Russian resort city of Sochi with the leaders of Russia and Iran, saying it was "very productive and useful".       

He said the next such summit on the Syrian conflict would be held in Turkey.       

In addition, Erdoğan reiterated the need for Washington to make good on its promise to evacuate the YPG from northern Syria's Manbij district west of the Euphrates River, stressing there has not yet been a step in this direction.       

"Manbij is actually not the place of these terror organizations," he said, adding the population there was 85-90 percent Arab.       

"We will do whatever it takes for our national security," he asserted, noting Ankara would continue to strive for finding mutual ground as long as Tehran and Moscow maintained their attitude.       

Erdoğan slammed Washington for arming YPG militants, saying it had sent 23,000 trucks loaded with weapons to them.         

Turkey considers the YPG as a terrorist organization due to its links with the PKK, which is listed as a terror group by Ankara, the U.S., and the EU.

In December of last year, U.S. President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement that the U.S. would be withdrawing all of its troops from Syria and said ISIL had been defeated in the country.       

Erdoğan urges US to put its weight behind Khashoggi investigation

On the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Erdogan emphasized that the CIA had not yet “thrown its weight” behind the issue, adding that Washington should press for an investigation.       

Erdoğan emphasized that Turkey had not yet revealed all the documents it possessed on Khashoggi's death and Ankara was “determined” to bring the issue before international courts.       

Khashoggi was brutally murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul shortly after he entered the diplomatic facility on Oct. 2 last year. Riyadh initially denied any role in the killing but has since sought to blame his death on a botched rendition operation being carried out by rogue agents.       

Syrian refugees in Turkey       

Underlining Turkey's efforts to resettle the 3.6 million Syrian refugees residing within the country's borders, Erdoğan said 310,000 Syrians had returned home and $35 billion had been spent on the needs of refugees.       

He complained that the European Union didn't fully keep its promise to support refugees in Turkey, saying it had promised a total of $6 billion.       

"What we have received is $1.75 billion. All talk, no action," he said.       

Erdoğan also touched upon French President Emmanuel Macron’s declaration of April 24 as a national day to mark the 1915 mass killing of Armenians. Erdoğan said Macron “should learn some history before lecturing others about genocides."       

"There is no such thing as genocide in our history," he said, adding Macron should be careful before uttering such strong words.       

Erdoğan said France had been involved in numerous bloody massacres committed over the course of history.       

"Between 1872-1954, Vietnam. More than 500,000 Vietnamese were slaughtered by the French," he said.       

He went on to say that France massacred scores of people in the revolts against its colonial presence in Algeria.       

On Turkey's ascension to the European Union, Erdoğan accused European countries of not being sincere with all the requisites and said they had another agenda.       

"There is only one reason they don't take us [into the EU]: because we are Muslims," he said, noting that even some former EU foreign ministers had said that.       

In addition, Erdoğan said some European countries were actually supporting terrorism against Turkey.