World Bulletin / News Desk
The PKK terrorist organization’s presence in Syria’s northern Manbij region is a threat to Turkey, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said late Friday.
Yildirim made the remarks during a guest appearance on a local TV program.
"For us, the PKK’s presence in Manbij is a threat, a security issue, and must absolutely be resolved," he said.
Yildirim said Turkey wants the PKK and its Syrian extensions the PYD and YPG to leave Manbij as the region's native inhabitants are Arabs, Turkmen and people from other ethnic groups.
"In this region, the PKK is making life miserable for residents. We say to the U.S. that this region should be cleared of terrorists. If they don't do this, we will do what is needed in terms of security,” he said, adding he hopes another Afrin operation won't be needed.
"Because the U.S. is there, Russia and other coalition forces are there as well. We don't want to cause any tensions within NATO. That's why first of all, we want to solve this issue with the U.S. But for us, the PKK’s presence in Manbij is a threat, a question of security which must be solved, and it will be solved somehow."
The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015.
Since then, it has been responsible for the deaths of more than 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians, including women and children.
On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu referred to the Manbij model -- Ankara's plan to eradicate the YPG/PKK terror groups from region with U.S. cooperation.
"We will implement the Manbij model in other parts of Syria, especially east of the Euphrates [River], after the approval of this roadmap. Thus, we will have taken a step together on an issue that causes tensions in bilateral relations," Cavusoglu said.
In a March interview with Anadolu Agency, Cavusoglu said that should the plan fail, Ankara would unilaterally take steps to "eliminate" the PKK-linked YPG from the Syrian border.
On Friday, Cavusoglu recalled that the U.S. had promised not to provide arms to the YPG terrorist group and to withdraw American forces from Manbij.
Cavusoglu said Turkey would work with the U.S. in Manbij.Last Mod: 28 Nisan 2018, 14:49