Turkey’s military will continue its campaign against Kurdish militants in northern Syria despite “threats” from the US and allies, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, insisting the operation targets not Kurds but terrorists.
“We can’t wait. As Turkey, we will never stop this fight, no matter what anyone says,” Erdogan declared on Friday.
The US and Europe both say we are killing Kurds. The Kurdish people are our brothers. Our struggle is against terror groups.
“We’re receiving threats from left and right, saying stop this progress,” Erdogan continued, but “the anti-terror operation is meant to protect the rights of all northern Syrian people.”
Operation Peace Spring, the official name for Turkey’s cross-border anti-terror campaign, launched earlier this week after US President Donald Trump announced American troops would be pulling back from the northeast border.
The Pentagon has slammed Turkey’s “impulsive action” – even though the operation had been planned for some time, and the US was initially supposed to help in the creation of a “security zone” along the border.
Trump has signed an executive order allowing the Treasury Department to sanction “any person associated with the government of Turkey, any portion of the government,” according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who claimed Trump was “concerned…about the potential targeting of civilians, civilian infrastructure, ethnic or religious minorities.”
These are very powerful sanctions. We hope we don’t have to use them. But we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to.
Turkey, a NATO member and an ally of the US, has been threatened with sanctions before. After Ankara’s purchase of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia, Washington threatened to impose retaliatory sanctions and kick the country out of the F-35 fighter jet program.
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