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DATE PUBLISHED: 2018/2/6 - 10:16:44
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US Plotting Against Turkey, Iran, Maybe Russia: Erdogan
 US Plotting Against Turkey, Iran, Maybe Russia: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described the United States military presence in Syria as opportunistic, saying that Washington had "calculations against Turkey, Iran and maybe Russia" now that ISIS has been largely defeated.

Erdogan also warned the US once again to withdraw from the Syrian city of Manbij, saying that Turkish forces aim to return the city "to its true owners."

Speaking at a meeting of his ruling AK Party in parliament on Tuesday, Erdogan said that countless terrorists had been "rendered inactive" by the recent Turkish offensive in Afrin. Vowing that the operation would continue, he mocked Washingtonís criticisms. "When are you going to finish with us asking the question, when did you finish your operations in Afghanistan? When did you finish your operations in Iraq? Itís been 18 years," Erdogan said, as quoted by Hurriyet.

Erdogan also vowed that Turkey would develop its defense sector and reduce reliance on foreign-made defense systems.

Last week, General Joseph Votel, head of the United States Central Command, said that pulling out from the strategically-important city is "not something we are looking into." Ankara has previously called on US forces to leave the city, which is currently being held by US-backed Kurdish groups.

Erdoganís warning comes just a week after similar statements from Turkeyís foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, who called on the US to leave Manbij immediately.

In response, Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesperson for the US-led coalition, said that Washington would not abandon its Kurdish allies, which Ankara has accused of having links to terrorism.

The Turkish offensive has added additional strain to the already contentious relationship between Washington and Ankara, two NATO allies.

A White House spokesman recently remarked that the operation "risks conflict between Turkish and American forces" in Syria.

Turkish troops crossed into Syria in late January in an attempt to drive US-backed Kurds out of the city of Afrin.

The Syrian government has condemned both US and Turkish military in the country terming both countries as aggressors.

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/9365


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