Erdogan says Obama deceived Turkey

“The [Obama] plan was to create a terror state there once again and named it the Kurdish state”.


Erdogan and Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama, right, speaks to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before a bilateral meeting, in Paris, France, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. The leaders discussed the continuing crisis in Syria, and the fight against the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Yasin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service, Pool)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on 24 January that former US president Barack Obama deceived Turkey over a potential military operation to Syria’s Manbij, reported online news portal T24.

“We also had an “Olive Grove” [Zeytinlik] operation during the Obama period. Obama deceived us during the Olive Grove Operation. That was also an operation to clear Manbij of terrorists. We did our part but they did not,” Erdogan said in his address to local officials in the capital Ankara.

“The plan was to create a terror state there once again and they named it the Kurdish state. But there are no Kurds there. They did the same thing in Kobane. You fired Arabs from there and piled up terrorists,” he added.

Turkey launched its military operation dubbed Olive Branch in Syrian Kurdish-held enclave Afrin on 20 January, targeting the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Islamic State (IS). ‘A liveable place’

Erdogan said the operation was ongoing successfully as the Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) units were “bringing Afrin under control step by step.”

“This operation will continue until the last terrorist is neutralised,” Erdogan said.

He added that around 100,000 Syrians returned to their homeland following a Turkish military operation in 2016, including Rai, Jarablus and al Bab region.

“The same thing will also be in Afrin. We will first exterminate the terrorists and then turn there into a liveable place. For whom? For 3.5 million Syrians we are hosting,” Erdogan said.

He noted that the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) and the IS had no differences between them.

The president also called the PYD forces “the new co-operators of the post-modern crusade.”

“We are also fighting with a mentality that is the enemy of all humanity,” Erdogan said, referring to claims of the PYD forces using children and women as the “human shield.” ‘From Manbij alongside the Turkish border’

He also vowed that the country would clear the region of “terrorist” elements alongside its borders, starting from Manbij.

“God willing, we will continue to foil this plot along our borders, starting from Manbij, and clear our region of this calamity,” Erdogan said, speaking in the capital Ankara.

He stated there were around eight casualties from the Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) units combined in the operation.

“We have martyrs and veterans in the Olive Branch operation. However, if we have, with FSA, seven to eight martyrs combined, there are, as we can determine, 268 people neutralised from the other side in the four days [since the operation began],” Erdogan said.

“We will exterminate them. They will either walk away or walk away. There is no other way,” he said.

Erdogan also reiterated that Turkey’s problem was not with the Syrian soil with the Olive Branch operation but “the establishment of justice” there.

“Our problem is that 3.5 million Syrians are living in my country and we will provide the return of those people to their own land,” he said.

Source: T24 website, Istanbul, in Turkish 1141 gmt 24 Jan 18
© 2018 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Turkish press criticizes ‘US support for terrorists’

Erdogan greets Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands after speaking to reporters following their meeting at the Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, November 15, 2015. Erdogan and Turkey are hosting world leaders for the G20 summit Sunday and Monday. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The following is a selection of quotes from editorials and commentaries published in 25 January 2018 editions of Turkish newspapers available to BBC Monitoring:

‘Terrorist organizations US’ useful tools’

Milliyet (pro-government): “So, what happened? The [Turkish Armed Forces] TSK, suffered losses [Turkish soldiers killed in the operation], and cleared the Daesh [Islamic State] militants from Al Bab. The PYD/YPG militants in Manbij, however, instead of withdrawing to the east of the Euphrates, spread even further under the shadow of the USA’s flag. We also know what happened in Raqqa. Raqqa was handed over to the PYD/YPG without a single bullet shot and Daesh militants based in the city were allowed to go north in order to be used in the future… As a matter of fact, they are also being used in Afrin today… On top of it, at the same stage with the PYD/YPG, whom they seemed to be enemies with… In other words, what we say is this: from the USA’s point of view, the Daesh is a very useful tool and it does not want it to be completely destroyed.” (Commentary by Tunca Bengin)

Hurriyet (mainstream): “No matter what the USA claims, according to the management list, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is completely formed from the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK militants. The SDF is directly linked to the leaders of the terrorist organization PKK, Cemil Bayik and Murat Karayilan. ‘Appointments’ and management of the YPG and SDF are provided by Kandil. […] No matter whether the name is the SDF or the YPG…. Even though the USA denies it, the structure of the organization is the PKK’s Syrian extension. It is like a matryoshka doll, you open the SDF and there appears the YPG, you open the latter and see the PKK in front of you.” (Commentary by Abdulkadir Selvi)

‘Disgraceful media’

Aksam (pro-government): Afrin articles by [pro-opposition] Cumhuriyet, Birgun and Evrensel are disgraceful. There is no other media anywhere in the world that can defend terrorist organisations in such an open and comfortable way. These media outlets and their employees carry out the PKK’s perception operation. They are carrying out the terrorist organisation’s propaganda together with Fetullahists [refers to Fetullah Gulen supporters who the Turkish government blames for being behind the failed coup attempt in 2016]. Of course, there is no need to say what would happen to them if they did it in America, but they take this courage from the generosity and justice of the state and the nation. However, there is a limit to it too.” (Commentary by Kurtulus Tayiz)

‘Long live Turkey’s sensitivities!’

Karar (pro-government): “Again one emphasis after another [made in the statement by Turkey’s Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar saying ‘All kinds of caution will be taken to prevent civilian and innocent people from being harmed’]. This is what I am most proud of: that the first thing done in the Olive Branch Operation [in Afrin] was emphasising the respect for civilian life. Up to the present moment, we have witnessed cross-border operations carried out by many states, first of all the USA. We listened to or read the official statements they made. But did we ever see such a thing [stress on sensitivity towards protecting civilians] in them? Long live Turkey’s sensitivities!” (Commentary by Hakan Albayrak)

‘Dialogue with Assad!’

Yenicag (nationalist): “On the contrary, everyone is supporting the government [in regards to the Afrin operation]. However, we are faced with the ‘Who will this region be left for after Afrin is cleared [of YPG]?’ question. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that ‘We will get 3.5m Syrians settled’, but it is understood that the administration of the region will be left to the Free Syrian Army! But the Free Syrian Army is not a state! A state cannot come from such a formation consisting of people from everywhere. Even if it comes [to this], in this case, it will mean Turkey has disrupted Syria’s territorial integrity! On top of it, Turkey is opposing the PYD cantons in Syria because they surround the country by the terror corridors from the southern border and disrespect Syria’s territorial integrity. This contradictory policies cannot continue! ” (Commentary by Arslan Bulut)

Sozcu (opposition secular): “Dialogue with [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad! The Afrin operation is right. Our hearts are beating for our soldiers. Okay, but will this operation fully solve our problem or will it rather, like an aspirin treatment, make the headache go for a certain period of time? For a fundamental solution, there seems to be no other way but to come to terms with the Damascus regime. Our guys [refers to the government], however, hate Assad! Mutual interests, not personal feelings, should be basis in ties between states.” (Commentary by Rahmi Turan)

Source: Quotes package from BBC Monitoring in Turkish 1200 gmt 25 Jan 18
© 2018 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Kurdish Author: Federalism Impossible in Syria

Kurdish author and journalist Akhil Ayd said that a major part of the Syrian Kurds oppose establishment of a federalism system in Syria.

“The region that is under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has been home to Arabs and Kurds, so the Kurds cannot establish into their own land,” Ayd said.

“What we witnessed in Eastern Aleppo ruined US’s dreams because residents of the villages in Eastern Aleppo joined the Syrian army and took back their regions from ISIL. The same story will happen in Raqqa and Hasaka,” Ayd said in reaction to the US power of winning the Syrian nation’s trust.

“A main part of Syria’s Kurds are supporting the Damascus government and oppose federalism,” he further underscored.

A source in the Manbij Military Council said in early March that several villages controlled by the Kurdish forces in Northeastern Aleppo were handed over to the Syrian Army troops following the recent Russian-brokered agreement with Damascus.

The Arabic language desk of Sputnik quoted the source as saying that the Manbij Military Council delivered control of six villages to the Syrian army troops.

Sputnik added that the villages were in contact line with forces of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield Operation in Manbij.

The news agency said that the six villages had been seized back from the ISIL during the Al-Bab liberation operation.

The villages were located some 22km to West of Manbij.

The military council of Manbij announced in a statement in March that the Kurdish forces would surrender the villages bordering the areas occupied by the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield Operation militants to the Syrian army.

Then, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that his government called on the US to evacuate the Kurds from Manbij in Aleppo province immediately, rejecting the agreement between the Kurds and the Damascus government.

Cavusoglu referred to the Euphrates Shield Operation in Northern Syria by the Turkey-backed militants, and told reporters that the Turkish forces did not move towards Manbij but they would start operations in the region soon.

Noting that the Turkish military men were ready to attack the Kurds in Manbij, he said that Ankara did not want Washington to continue support for the Kurds and it had several times warned the US that the Turkish forces would attack the Kurds soon.

Cavusoglu also said that Ankara and Moscow agreed to prevent clashes between the Syrian government forces and the Turkey-backed opposition (the Free Syrian Army militants), claiming that both of them pursue the same goal of annihilating the ISIL.

Elsewhere, he stood up to an agreement between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Russia to surrender the villages controlled by the Kurds in Manbij to the Syrian government.

His remarks came as the military council of Manbij announced in a statement that the Kurdish forces would surrender the villages bordering the areas occupied by the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield Operation militants to the Syrian army.

The statement said that based on an agreement with the Russian side, the control of these villages would be given to the Syrian government’s border guards.

It added that the measure would be taken to maintain the security of civilians residing in Manbij and the surrounding areas as well as regions bordering al-Bab in the Western side of Manbij, and take on the greed of Turkey to occupy the Syrian territories.

The statement was issued after sources in Tal Rifat Town’s Military Council affiliated to the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) militant group disclosed that the council forces would no more partner in the Euphrates Shield Operations against ISIL in Northeastern Aleppo as they were preparing to shift war to their Kurdish rivals within the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield Operations is fought by various units of the SDF and backed up by the Turkish army. The SDF is comprised of a Kurdish majority and a minority of Arab fighters mostly from different units of FSA and defected members of Ahrar al-Sham and Al-Nusra that are all called as moderate militants by the US, Turkey and their allies.

The Kurdish units of the SDF have long been complaining that they are fighting on the frontline and, hence, sustain most casualties, and whenever they earn a victory, “the Turkish army sends them to other battle scenes and delivers control over conquered lands to the Arab FSA.

Cavusoglu’s warning that the Turkish military men are readying to attack the Kurds in Manbij came after the militant-affiliated Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported some sources in Tal Rifat Military Council as saying that the council would stop its mission under the Ankara-backed Euphrates Shield Operation to start battling the Kurdish members of the SDF in Northern Aleppo to capture the villages under their control.

The SOHR further added that the Tal Rifat Military Council that was operating under the FSA was getting back to the region (Northern Aleppo) with its forces and military equipment to start attacking the Kurdish forces in their positions.

In response to the militants’ invasion plan, the Syrian army initiated plans to tighten security measures across the regions stretching from East Aleppo to the Kurdish populated territories in Afrin Canton to block any possible advance by either the ISIL or the Turkish soldiers and their allied militants fighting for the Ankara-backed Euphrates Shield Operation.

Source: FARS NEWS AGENCY, April 08, 2017
© 2017, FARS News Agency, All rights Reserved – Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc.


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