Turkey's presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin's comments came after White House national security adviser John Bolton said US will not withdraw troops from northeastern Syria until Ankara guarantees it won’t attack US-backed Kurdish forces.
It is irrational to say Turkey targets Kurds as the country is fighting Daesh and PKK/PYD/YPG, the Turkish presidential spokesperson responded on Sunday to White House National Security Adviser John Bolton's remarks on Turkey's military action in Syria.
“The issue is PKK/PYD/YPG are making efforts to establish an order by oppressing Kurds who don’t obey them, and by their terrorist activities against our country,” Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement.
“There is no doubt that a terror group cannot be an ally of the US,” Kalin said.
Earlier on Sunday, Bolton said the US will not withdraw troops from northeastern Syria until Turkish government guarantees fight against Daesh and that it won’t attack “Kurdish fighters,” referring to YPG/PKK terrorist group.
Kalin stressed that Turkey’s aim was to clear Syria of all terror groups, to protect its territorial integrity and provide political and social conditions for the safe return of Syrians to their country by protecting lives of the civilians.
PYD and YPG were Syrian branches of PKK terrorist group, which continue their acts on the pretext of fighting against Daesh, Kalin said, adding: "They cannot represent Syrian Kurds."
"It's disrespectful to our Kurdish brothers to claim they are represented by a terror group," he said.
"One aim of Turkey's fight against the PKK and its Syrian extensions is to rescue the Kurds from the cruelty and oppression of this terrorist group," he added.
Kalin said Turkey's aim while fighting against PKK and its Syrian branches is "to rescue Kurds from the tyranny and oppression of this terror group and to ensure their safety of life and property."
Kalin highlighted that Turkey’s aim in the fight against terrorism is to provide national security, and to ensure regional peace and stability.
He noted that Turkey is the only NATO member which is countering the PKK and its Syrian branches of PYD and YPG, as well as other terror groups such as Daesh and FETO.
Kalin said Turkey was going to coordinate with its allies and the countries in the region in the fight against terrorism.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s principle that “we will be both on the ground and at the table” clearly explains that both military and diplomatic means are always open for the national interests, Kalin said.
US troops will not leave northeastern Syria until Daesh is defeated and American-allied Kurdish fighters are protected, a top White House aide said Sunday, signalling a pause to a withdrawal abruptly announced by US President Donald Trump last month and initially expected to be completed within weeks.
While US national security adviser John Bolton said there is now no timetable, President Donald Trump reaffirmed his commitment to withdrawing US troops, though he said "we won't be finally pulled out until ISIS [Daesh] is gone."
Trump had said in his December 19 withdrawal announcement that US forces "have defeated ISIS [Daesh] in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency," and added in a video posted to Twitter, "Now it's time for our troops to come back home."
Bolton said in Israel that the US would pull out after the administration had reached an agreement with Turkey to protect the Kurdish forces who have fought alongside Americans against Daesh.