Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has rejected US claims that Ankara was targeting Kurds in Syria:
"The claim that Turkey is targeting Kurds is irrational. Turkey’s target is Daesh and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terror groups. To argue that a terrorist organisation represents Kurds is, above all, disrespectful to our Kurdish brothers. One of the goals of Turkey's struggle against the PKK and its Syrian offshoots is to save the Kurds from the tyranny and oppression of this terror group", Kalin stated.
Kalin's comments come shortly after US National Security Adviser John Bolton announced that American troops were going to maintain their presence in northeastern Syria until Turkey guaranteed the Kurdish fighters would be safe.
"We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States at a minimum so they don’t endanger our troops, but also so that they meet the president’s requirement that the Syrian opposition forces that have fought with us are not endangered", Bolton said.
Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump said that he wanted to protect US-allied Kurdish fighters in Syria amid a gradual pullout of American troops from the country. He elaborated that the United States would leave Syria "over a period of time", claiming that he never set a four-month timetable for the withdrawal.
Last month, Erdogan announced that Turkey was ready to kick off a military operation against the YPG in Manbij but eventually postponed the offensive following a phone conversation with Trump, who decided to pull out American troops from the Mideast country. Ankara considers the YPG to be affiliated with the PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey.
*Daesh, also known as ISIS/IS/Islamic State, is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.