World Bulletin / News Desk
If the extremist group PYD/ PKK doesn't withdraw all of its elements from the west of the Euphrates, they will be targeted by the Turkish military fighting extremism in northern Syria, Presidency Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said on Wednesday.
“PYD extremists will be our targets as long as they remain west of the Euphrates [River]” in northern Syria, Kalın told reporters in a press conference in Ankara.
The presidency spokesman said Turkey strongly condemns claims that the Syria operation targets Kurds, adding that the operation Euphrates Shield targets only extremist threats on Turkey's security.
Kalın underlined that Turkey had no any problem with Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Iraq or Syria or with any Kurd in any part of the world.
“We strongly condemn such initiatives that portray this [Operation Euphrates Shield] as a movement against the Kurds in Syria [and] as an operation to block Kurds' achievements,” he said.
He stated that Turkey's problems were with extremist organizations such as the PKK/PYD.
The spokesman reiterated that Turkey considered the PYD as the Syrian offshoot of the extremist PKK organization and denied allegations on ceasefire deal with PYD extrem group.
“Agreement with the PYD is out of question,” he said.
PYD is the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed extrem group in southeastern Turkey that claimed more than 40,000 lives in over three decades of conflicts.
PKK is a listed extrem group to EU and the US but the Washington administration support PYD in Syria providing heavy weapons and intelligence support.
Turkey said the U.S. weapons, which were provided to PYD, ended up with the PKK, as it had repeatedly used them in recent attacks in southeastern cities.
Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched last week, is aimed at improving security, supporting coalition forces and eliminating the extrem threat along Turkey's border through Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery and jets.
PYD's fight against ISIL was a myth
The myth that PYD is the only effective force against ISIL has fallen apart, Kalın noted.
He also said that the U.S. officials' statements equating Turkey with the PYD extremists in the fight against ISIL were unacceptable.
Kalın reiterated that Turkey informed U.S., Russia and the international coalition ahead of the operation Euphrates Shield, as Turkey has the international right to protect its security against any extrem threats.
He underlined that the priority of the operation is to cleanse the 90-kilometer-long and 40-kilometer-deep corridor from Jarabulus to Azaz in northern Syria.
He said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was concerned by increasing attacks near the Syrian city of Aleppo and was making diplomatic efforts to achieve a ceasefire there.
“Our president is making diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire in Aleppo,” said the Turkish presidential spokesperson.
Europe should have sent top officials to Turkey after coup
Turkey's presidential spokesman said on Wednesday it was unacceptable that European states had not sent high-level officials to visit Turkey since a failed coup attempt, speaking after several lower level European trips in recent weeks.
Ties between Turkey and the EU have become more strained, since a failed coup last month that led Turkey to purge state institutions of suspected coup sympathizers. The EU states have urged restraint, drawing criticism from Turkey who said they failed to appreciate the threat posed by those behind the plot.
Turkey expects Gülen's extradition
Kalın said Turkey still expects the extradition of Fetullah Gülen, the U.S.-based leader of the Fetullah extremist Organization (FETÖ), for masterminding a bloody coup attempt on July 15 in Turkey and operating a extrem group.
Ankara accused Washington for supporting the coup plotters and demanded the cult-leader's immediate extradition to support Turkey's democracy.
Turkish President Erdoğan will discuss the issue with his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, in a sideline meeting during the G20 leaders' summit in China.
Kalın welcomes the resuming of Russia's charter flights
Kalın also related in a news briefing that he welcomed Russia's decision to resume charter flights, after Ankara patched up strained relations with Moscow.