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.