Bolton made a ‘serious mistake,’ Ankara won't ‘swallow’ his comments on Syria's Kurds – Erdogan
US National Security adviser John Bolton has made a “huge mistake” naming Ankara's security guarantees for Kurds a precondition for US pullout from Syria, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
The Turkish leader unleashed a bitter verbal attack on Bolton while speaking before the country's ruling party parliamentary group on Tuesday.
“It is not possible for us to accept and swallow Bolton's statements made in Israel,” Erdogan said. “Bolton is making a huge mistake, his statement is unacceptable.”
Erdogan's remarks referred to the US National Security Adviser's statement made on Monday. Bolton revealed that the US President Donald Trump told him he would not “not allow Turkey to kill the Kurds.”
“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,” he said.
The Turkish leader, on his part, stated that Ankara seeks only to kill “terrorists,” while actually protecting its “Kurdish brothers” in the neighboring country.
“Those, who spread the lie that Turkey is killing Kurds in Syria, are trying to manipulate the international community's opinion,” Erdogan stressed.
Ankara regards Syria's Kurdish-led militia – People's Protection Units (YPG) – as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The party's militants have been waging an insurgency in Turkey's southeast since the 1980s. Their prolonged fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) – supported by the US-led coalition – was actually a “huge lie,” Erdogan claimed, vowing to launch a genuine operation against “terrorists” in Syria in the near future.
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