Turkish Governing Party's Spokesman: Ankara is Kurds' Only Friend

© Sputnik / Mikhail Alaeddin / Go to the photo bankCentral square of the Syrian city of Afrin
Central square of the Syrian city of Afrin - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Omer Celik, the spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's governing Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP), on Tuesday rejected claims that Turkey was a threat to Kurds and said that Turkey was the Kurds' "only friend."

"No one can teach the Republic of Turkey lessons about protecting our Kurdish brothers. The Republic of Turkey is the biggest, even the only friend of the Kurds", Celik told reporters, as quoted by Anadolu.

He then rejected any accusations leveled at Turkey and concerns over its treatment of Kurds.

"Those who tell Turkey 'don't touch Kurds' should look in the mirror and remember their oppression of Kurds", Celik emphasized.

READ MORE: Turkey Promises to 'Bury' Kurds in New Syrian Ops Amid US Withdrawal — Reports

The spokesman went on to say that Turkey was ready to cooperate with the United States, qualifying US interactions with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara, as a "great failure."

Turkish soldiers hold their positions with their artillery pieces, bottom, on a hilltop in the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, overlooking Kobani, Syria, background, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 - Sputnik International
US Seeks to Prevent Turkey From 'Slaughtering' Kurds in Syria - Pompeo
His remark followed recent statements by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who cited "the importance of ensuring that the Turks don’t slaughter the Kurds" after US troops withdrawal from Syria, and US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who voiced need to ensure that Turkey would not attack Syrian Kurdish forces following the withdrawal.

Both Pompeo and Bolton are aware that the PKK is a terrorist group, Celik stressed.

READ MORE: Syrian Kurds Vow to Fight 'to Death' in Event of New Turkish Op in Syria — SDF

In December 2018, US President Donald Trump said that the US forces, with their numbers amounting to around 2,000, would leave Syria since the Daesh* terrorist group had been defeated there. Later, the White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said that the US began withdrawing troops from Syria, but a victory over Daesh did not mean the end to the existence of the coalition.

Relations between Washington and Ankara have been strained over US support of Syrian Kurdish fighters, who have been also controlling Syrian territories, as Turkey regards the Syrian Kurdish units as part of the outlawed separatist PKK.

* Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

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