Turkey cannot accept US condition of protecting YPG terorrists, Erdoğan says

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton’s remarks regarding the PKK’s Syrian offshoot People’s Protection Units (YPG) are unacceptable, and Turkey cannot accept the U.S.’ condition of protecting YPG terrorists, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday.

Speaking at the Justice and Development (AK Party) Party’s parliamentary group meeting, Erdoğan reiterated Turkey’s determination to clear terrorists out of Syria after U.S. forces leave the country.

“YPG cannot represent the Kurds. Turkey cannot accept the U.S.’ condition of ensuring the safety of YPG terrorists in Syria,” Erdoğan said, noting that equating the YPG with Kurds is not logical. He highlighted that Turkey does not target ethnicity, but targets terrorism, regardless of the terrorists’ background.

“We distinguish between the terrorists and innocent people by looking at who holds the guns and who they target with them, the actions they carry out, the blood they shed and the oppression they commit,” Erdoğan said.

Bolton said Sunday that the U.S. military withdrawal from northeastern Syria is conditioned on defeating the remnants of Daesh terrorist group, and on Turkey assuring the safety of fighters allied with the United States — the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG terrorists.

“If there are other terrorists trying to obstruct our efforts, we will surely deal with them as well,” the president said, in reference to the YPG.

The president also said that Turkey has completed the preparations for a military operation against Daesh elements still active in Syria and will soon take action to take them down.

He noted that the claim about YPG fighting Daesh is completely a lie and that Turkey accepted over 100,000 Kurds fleeing Kobani when Daesh attacked the city, and they did not go back after the YPG forces took over.

Erdoğan said their decision not to return was “because these people knew that their lives, property and honor would not be secure when one terrorist group was replaced with another one.”