Erdogan spokesman says expects Turkey’s allies to take clear anti-terrorism stance

Saturday, 31 March 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

ISTANBUL (Reuters): President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Friday Turkey expected its allies to take a clear stance against terrorism instead of taking steps that amount to legitimising “terror structures”.

The comments by Ibrahim Kalin on Twitter came after French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday assured the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of Paris’ support to stabilise northeastern Syria against Islamic State.

A Kurdish official said Macron had pledged to send troops to the northeastern region controlled by the SDF. Ankara considers the Kurdish YPG, which forms the strongest force in the SDF, to be a terrorist group.

“We, as Turkey, reject far from serious approaches like ‘dialogue, contacts, mediation’ with such terror structures,” Kalin wrote.

“Countries which we regard as friends and allies must display an open and clear stance against all kinds of terror, instead of taking steps which amount to legitimising terror structures,” he added, without naming any country.

The SDF has been at the forefront of the US-led coalition’s strategy to defeat Islamic State militants.

Macron on Thursday met for the first time with a delegation that included the YPG, its political arm the PYD, and Christian and Arab officials.

Turkey stormed the northwest Syrian town of Afrin earlier this month after a two-month offensive with Syrian rebel allies to push the YPG out of the region. It has repeatedly threatened to push its operations further east to Manbij where US troops are stationed alongside the SDF.

Speaking to Reuters after the meeting with Macron, Khaled Eissa, a PYD member who represents the northern Syria region in Paris, said Macron had promised to send more troops to the area, provide humanitarian assistance and push a diplomatic solution.