The United States is working against the interests of Turkey, Iran and maybe Russia in northern Syria, where it is sending in military supplies to an area controlled by Kurdish-dominated forces, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
“If the United States says they are sending 5,000 trucks and 2,000 cargo planes of weapons for the fight against Daesh [Islamic State], we don’t believe this,” Erdoğan told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Parliament.
“It means you have calculations against Turkey and Iran, and maybe Russia,” he said, repeating a call for US troops to withdraw from the Syrian town of Manbij.
Calling on Washington to cooperate with NATO ally Turkey in the region, Erdoğan said: “They [US] tell us, ‘Don’t come to Manbij.’ We will go to Manbij to hand over these territories to their rightful owners.”
Erdoğan also said Turkey has reached a point that no country or organization can question its power and deterrence.
The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region of Syria against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
President Erdoğan on Jan. 26 reacted to calls from the US to wrap up the operation in Afrin, defying Washington and saying that Manbij would be the next target.
Manbij is controlled by the Kurdish-led, US-backed Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
President Erdoğan on Oct. 8 said Turkey would not allow a Kurdish corridor in Syria extending along the Turkish border to the Mediterranean.