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President Erdoğan lashes out at U.S. of trying to deceive Turkey

Turkey's Erdoğan has chastised the United States due to their recent remarks regarding Turkey's Afrin operation, and saying in his speech to AK Party members that "If we are strategic partners of the United States, they will respect us. But they tried to deceive us."

Agencies and A News WORLD
Published March 20,2018
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday made remarkable statements on the latest political developments during a weekly group meeting with the ruling AK Party members at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey' in the capital Ankara.

On Turkey's Afrin operation dubbed "Olive Branch", Erdoğan said in his speech that 3,647 YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists had been 'neutralized' since start of military operation in Syria's northern region.

Criticizing the recent remarks of White House over Turkey's military offensive against the YPG/PKK terror group, Turkish president said that "If we are strategic partners of the United States, they will respect us. But they tried to deceive us."

He said that the U.S. ignored Turkey's concerns when they were first conveyed by officials and is now complaining about the ongoing anti-terror operation, which liberated the Syrian border town from PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists.

"They say now that they're concerned in Afrin. Where were you when we conveyed our concerns, when we asked you to clear terrorist groups together?" Erdoğan said in a statements.

Erdoğan said Washington needs to respect Turkey if it sees the country as a "strategic ally" and accused the U.S. of attempting to deceive Turkish authorities by continuing to provide YPG with weaponry.

"You did not give us weapons when we asked for them but gave them to terrorists instead. Now, that ammunition is in our possession."

On Monday, U.S. Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said the U.S. was "deeply concerned" about the humanitarian situation in Afrin, claiming that Turkey's operation may obstruct the fight against Daesh terrorists.

Turkey's foreign ministry responded by saying that Turkey has taken all necessary measures to ensure that civilians are protected and humanitarian assistance is provided to the civilian population. The ministry also said using the People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorist group against Daesh and allowing the group push forward its separatist agenda is what actually undermines the combat against terrorism.

The U.S.' partnership with the YPG has been a significant disagreement between Washington and Ankara, as Turkey argues that a terror group cannot be used to defeat another one. In addition, the weaponry given to the YPG, which Ankara says is directly linked to the PKK terrorist group, can be transferred to PKK terrorists, and ultimately used against its citizens.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU. Still, the U.S. continues to supply truckloads of weapons to the YPG in Syria, beginning with former President Barack Obama's term. After Ankara's repeated concerns, the U.S. administration, under the term of President Donald Trump, said they would collect the weapons given to the YPG. Yet, this promise made to Ankara has not been kept, Turkish officials say.

"The Turkish forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters will continue with Afrin operation to clear explosives and mines and to secure and stabilize the city," the president said once again, highlighting Turkey's determination to proceed with the operation until all terror threats are eliminated on its borders.