Turkish president vows to destroy "terror corridor" in northern Syria regardless of results of the talks with the US on the Syrian safe zone.

Turkish President Erdogan says Turkey is determined to destroy a
Turkish President Erdogan says Turkey is determined to destroy a "terror corridor" in northern Syrian regardless of whether or not Turkey and the US agree on the establishment of a safe zone. July 26, 2019. (Presidential Press Service via AP / AP)

If the US refuses to sell F-35 fighter jets, then Turkey will turn to other options, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

"Don't you sell [Turkey] F-35? Ok then, sorry but we take our measures and turn to other options," President Erdogan said.

Erdogan's remarks came during a meeting with the provincial heads of the governing AK Party at the Ankara headquarters.

President Donald Trump reportedly told Republican senators during a closed-door White House meeting Tuesday that he is not in favour of implementing penalties on Turkey for its acquisition of the Russian S-400 anti-air missile system.

Trump has repeatedly voiced reluctance to penalise Turkey over its purchase of the S-400, doing so last week when announcing Ankara's removal from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Turkey's expulsion is slated to be completed by the end of March 2020.

The Trump administration has maintained that the S-400 could expose the advanced fighter to possible Russian subterfuge and is incompatible with NATO systems.

Turkey, however, counters that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

Trump blames the Obama administration for the current row over its refusal to sign a deal with Turkey to sell it American defense firm Raytheon's Patriot missile system.

Attack on Turkish diplomats in Erbil.

Erdogan said the attack targeting Turkish diplomat in Iraq's Erbil justifies Turkey’s decision of launching a counter-terrorism operation in northern Iraq.

“The attack on our consulate employee in Erbil confirms that our operation [Operation Claw] is a right decision.”

Last week, Osman Kose, who was serving at Turkey's Consulate General in Erbil, was killed in an PKK attack at a restaurant. Apart from the diplomat, two Iraqi nationals sitting at the next table were also killed.

Turkey has launched two major military operations targeting the PKK in northern Iraq. 

On July 13, Turkey launched Operation Claw-2 as a follow-up to the successfully ongoing Claw-1, which was launched May 27. 

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern – Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch – to purge the region of terrorist groups Daesh and the YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the terrorist organization PKK.

Safe zone in Syria

"Turkey is determined to rip apart terror corridor east of the Euphrates River no matter what are the results of talks with the US on establishing safe zone along Syria border," said Erdogan.

Earlier this week, Turkey’s National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and James Jeffrey, the US envoy to Syria, met in the capital Ankara and they agreed on the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

Source: AA