Turkey won’t take part in Raqqa operation alongside PYD

Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin says joining an operation including the PYD/YPG is out of the question.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin speaks at the Turkish Presidential palace on 26 Feb. 2016.

Turkey will not join a possible operation to clear the northern Syrian city of Raqqa of DAESH if that operation enlists the support of the PYD – the Syrian wing of the PKK terrorist group – and the PYD's military wing, the YPG, Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Thursday.

"Joining an operation including the PYD/YPG is out of the question. In principle, we support clearing Raqqa and other Syrian cities of DAESH. However, our principles and conditions on this issue are clear," he said in an interview with the state-owned TRT Haber news network.

Kalin was responding to a question about a possible US-Turkey joint operation to liberate Raqqa, which was discussed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Barrack Obama during the G20 summit in China early in September.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and US President Barack Obama following a closed-door meeting ahead of the G20 Summit in China, September 4, 2016. (AA)

Kalin said the negotiations were still continuing, and that nothing was definite yet.

Turkey's approach to any operations in Raqqa would be similar to its approach in the Manbij or Jarablus operations, he added.

Kalin also commented on the process of offering citizenship to Syrians "who meet certain criteria" and said Turkey would continue accepting Syrian refugees, although "it is not the richest country in the world."

"However, it is the country hosting the largest number of refugees," he said, adding that Turkey also tops the list in terms of humanitarian aid offered relative to per capita income.

Turkey is hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees in the world, 2.7 million, and has so far spent around $10 billion for those in Turkey.

TRTWorld and agencies