Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Turkey’s Erdoğan Threatens US Forces In Syria With ‘Ottoman Slap’

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Turkey’s Erdoğan Threatens US Forces In Syria With ‘Ottoman Slap’

“The US’s decision to give more financial support to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will affect Turkey’s decisions,” said Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday ahead of a visit this week by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Erdoğan has also slammed remarks of Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk, the top US commander in the anti-ISIL coalition, who said if Turkey hits Manbij it would face a sharp response. “Those who say they will give a sharp response have not been hit by the Ottoman slap,” Erdoğan said.
In his speech to the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s parliamentary group in capital Ankara, Erdoğan remarks came after Pentagon requested an extra $300 million to train and equip the SDF, predominantly made up of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), while demanding nearly as much to build a “border security force” with the SDF in Syria.
It is wrong to say that NATO equals the US, Erdoğan has continued by pointing out that all countries in the alliance are equals to the US and called on the US to abide by its NATO obligations. “What kind of NATO membership is this? What kind of NATO alliance is this?” he asked. “As president of Turkey, I say NATO is not equal to the US, all countries in the alliance are equals to the US.”
American support for the PYD/PKK has long vexed Ankara, as Washington views the PYD/PKK-led SDF as a “reliable partner” in its fight against ISIL and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections by Turkey. Erdoğan has also stated that Turkish security forces were taking utmost care in avoiding harm to civilians during “Operation Olive Branch.”
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